A South Texas Justice of the Peace candidate is challenging the results of her Democratic primary runoff, alleging voter fraud materially affected the outcome of the election. The runoff was decided by six votes.

Ofelia “Ofie” Gutierrez is contesting the outcome of the May 22 Democratic primary runoff race to select the party’s nominee for Kleberg County Justice of the Peace Precinct 4. Gutierrez lost the runoff to incumbent Esequiel “Cheque” De La Paz by a vote of 318 to 312.

In a petition filed Friday in the 105th District Court in Kingsville, Gutierrez alleges more than six illegal votes were counted, cast by people who don’t reside within Precinct 4 and therefore were ineligible to vote in the election.

Gutierrez’ petition also alleges “a rash of new voter registrations” were filed by persons who don’t reside in the district, and claims a number of voters fraudulently registered to an address “that was not physically able to accommodate” all of them.

“I think that the number we have determined will be substantial enough to sway the outcome of the election in favor of Ms. Gutierrez once those votes are cast aside,” Gutierrez’ attorney Francisco Alvarez said.

Gutierrez is asking the court to declare her the winner of the primary runoff or, if the true outcome can’t be determined, to order a new election.

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.