Losing justice of the peace questions mail-in ballot votes

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by BRETT SHIPP / WFAA

wfaa.com

Posted on March 9, 2010 at 2:59 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 9 at 3:11 PM

DALLAS - The primary election may be over but that has not kept one losing candidate from going door to door to meet with voters.

Justice of the Peace Luis Sepulveda's campaign isn't for votes. Instead, he is looking for voting irregularities he believes cost him his re-election.

On election, Sepulveda was winning by 237 votes made at the polls. But, it was mail-in ballots that put him behind his opponent, Carlos Medrano, who won those by 361 votes. The mail-in tally tilted the overall race in Medrano's favor.

A suspicious Sepulveda and his daughter are now going door to door questioning those who voted by mail.

"We've gone to three homes already, and we are getting the same thing and we are trying to figure out how widespread is this thing,"

Sepulveda said he talked to several people who had their mail-in ballots collected by workers associated with his opponent's campaign.

Voting records show that a woman and her husband both mailed in ballots, yet she said they never voted.

"Now, we showed her that she voted and she's saying that if it shows her name is on there then she must have voted, but she doesn't remember," Sepulveda said.

Dallas County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet said if irregularities have occurred then the mail-in ballots are likely culprit.

"We don't have ways to really be there to make sure everything is happening the way it should be happening and that's why complaints are so important for us to receive from voters when they have these situations," he said.

Medrano was not available for comment but a spokesperson denied the claim.

"We do go door to door but we absolutely don't take voters ballots," the spokesperson said. "Carlos is proud of the campaign he ran and won his election by outworking his opponent."

Now, it's Sepulveda who pledges to outwork his opponent.

"The best thing for us to do is to make our case," he said.

Sepulveda said he is filing criminal complaints with the district attorney and the Texas secretary of state.

It's worth noting, however, that ten years ago when Sepulveda was first elected he too beat his opponent on the strength of the mail-in ballot.

E-mail: bshipp@wfaa.com

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