Another voter fraud investigation is underway in Hidalgo County, this one involving the May Agua Special Utility District election.

Challenger Eric Sanchez blames voter fraud by his competitor’s family members for his loss to incumbent utility board Director Cesar Rodriguez, Jr.

“I was cheated,” says Sanchez.

Sanchez alleges five people related to Rodriguez voted illegally in the Agua SUD race using Rodriguez’s address, even though they didn’t actually reside there. Rodriguez won the election by just three votes, 68-65.

Sanchez discovered that seven people had registered to vote from Rodriguez’s address, the Progress Times reports. Rodriguez, his wife, and five relatives listed his 1,900-square-foot home as their residence.

Hidalgo County Elections Department records confirm that five of Rodriguez’s relatives registered to vote and cast ballots in the election using his address: Andrez Rodriguez, Guadalupe V. Trevino, Ricardo Trevino, Cecilia Flores, and Karina Rodriguez.

Sanchez filed a complaint with the Secretary of State’s office, which was referred to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office on May 30. The referral from Elections Director Keith Ingram asked the AG’s office for assistance “in reviewing allegations of criminal activity in connection with the Agua Special Utility District Election:”

“After review of the submitted documentation, we believe the information regarding the offense warrants a submission for criminal investigation to the Texas Attorney General as the specific allegations described involve a potential felony offense.”

The AG’s office doesn’t comment on ongoing investigations but declined a public information request because the requested document “pertains to an active criminal investigation being conducted by the OAG’s Criminal Investigations Division.”

Illegal voting is a second-degree felony and carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

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.