Earlier this year, I wrote about the Democratic primary in Val Verde County and a pending case regarding vote harvesting in the race for the Precinct 4 County Commissioner. Earlier this month, the court delivered its opinion. Before the trial even began, I wrote that it was more than likely something illegal went on that affected the outcome of the race, and of course some liberals in my hometown saw this and basically accused me of being an idiot who didn’t know the first thing about elections. The sad truth is border politics and elections are anything but clean!

The situation is such a real problem that my mom will not allow people to come by my grandpa’s house to help him with his ballot or even campaign for candidates! She is that afraid that people are out there taking advantage of the elderly under the guise of helping them with our basic civic duty of voting. Hopefully our government can step in to protect the integrity of our votes. We deserve the will of the people, and that is tough to accomplish if there are people taking advantage of someone else’s vote.

That isn’t to say elections in other parts of the state are fair and ethical, but having grown up on the border, I am more apt to point out the corruption that seemingly runs our local governments. As I had hoped, the court ruled:

(1) Dora Gonzalez engaged in illegal election activity related to mail-in ballots and (2) she (Gonzalez) was working the election on behalf of Jesus “Cheo” Ortiz, Contestee.

Ortiz was the incumbent County Commissioner, but in this past primary, despite not being the ideal candidate, Gustavo Flores gave him a real run for his money and the people of Val Verde were sincerely tired of the self-serving public “servants” that plague local politics. After a recount, it was certified that Ortiz won his toughest primary challenge with a mere 27 vote majority.

Surprisingly, small majorities like this are pretty commonplace in Val Verde County, which is why I thought it was so ridiculous when people would tell me that “vote harvesting is not a problem.” Were they serious?! Did no one else think it was odd that so many of our local elections are decided by so few votes?

Thankfully the court ordered that a new primary will take place later this month, and hopefully this time the voters in Val Verde County will be afforded a fair election. I’m not sure what exactly will happen to Ortiz or Gonzalez now, but I can only hope they will refrain from distorting or tainting local politics.

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