An Edinburg City Councilman re-elected by just 10 votes is appealing the outcome of an election contest that reversed the race results and declared his opponent the winner.

Place 4 Councilman David White won his November 2023 election over challenger Gerardo “Gerry” Lozano.

Lozano contested the results, alleging that campaign workers known as politiqueras illegally assisted voters in casting ballots for White.

During a bench trial in May, visiting Judge Jose Manuel Bañales found that about two dozen voters were assisted or allowed to vote curbside (from a car or van) who didn’t qualify for such help.

In Texas, only voters who cannot read the ballot or who have a physical disability may legally receive assistance or vote curbside.

After questioning the voters, Bañales determined that at least 15 had voted for White.

The judge threw out those votes, leaving Lozano with a five-vote advantage.

In a judgment issued May 31, Bañales declared Lozano the winner.

“We respectfully disagree with the judgment,” said White’s attorney, Ricardo Gonzalez, according to a report by myRGV.

“We’ve already started the process of filing an appeal and … our claim, or allegation, is that the judge exceeded his discretion in declaring Mr. Lozano as the winner, or the top vote getter,” said Gonzalez.

Successful contests more often result in the judge ordering a new election.

Lozano was also represented by Gilberto Hinojosa, a Brownsville attorney and Texas Democrat Party chairman.

Texas Democrats routinely argue that laws limiting who can receive voter assistance or vote curbside are “voter suppression.” But in this case, Hinojosa argued on behalf of Lozano that otherwise-legal votes, cast by eligible voters, should be discarded.

Lozano had also alleged that some voters may have registered at fake addresses to vote in the election.

Former Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina was charged in 2019 with soliciting voters who lived outside the city to fraudulently change their registration addresses so they could vote for him in the 2017 mayoral election.

In 2022, a jury found Molina not guilty. During the trial, Molina admitted to helping voters change their registration addresses but claimed he thought it was not a crime. A co-defendant in the voter fraud case testified that Molina told him, “You’re not going to get caught. Everybody does it.”

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.