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Judge Denies Motion to Halt Hidalgo Co. Mobile VotingPosted: Updated: Oct 31, 2016 11:34 PM
MCALLEN - The judge presiding in the Hidalgo County mobile voting lawsuit decided the mobile sites will continue to be used.
Both plaintiffs on the lawsuit were called to the stand on Monday, as well as a representative from Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance and Hidalgo County’s Election Administrator Yvonne Ramon.
The plaintiffs argued some of the county’s mobile voting locations are unfair because they are private entities that support Proposition 1, a measure that would create a hospital district in Hidalgo County if approved.
The locations in question include hospitals, many of them DHR facilities, as wells as Lone Star National Bank locations and some IDEA Academy locations.
Area Developer Alonzo Cantu currently sits on the board of director for all three entities. He was present in Monday’s hearing and chuckled whenever plaintiffs repeatedly brought up his name.
Sylvia Hernandez with DHR testified that Cantu was never involved in talks about the hospital hosting mobile voting units. She said the hospital hosts the voting sites as a service to their employees and to the community.
Hidalgo County Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramon testified that the county election’s office picks the mobile voting locations based on convenience for the voter and willingness of the hosting facilities.
“For those voters who are not able to come to the polling locations, whatever the reason may be, we make an effort to go to them and that’s the whole point of mobile voting,” Ramon said.
The locations remained mostly the same since 2012.
Judge Manual Banales of Corpus Christi denied the plaintiffs’ request to halt them. He agreed with the defendants saying there was no misconduct in choosing the mobile voting sites.
“The court was clear in its ruling that based on evidence that he heard, there wasn’t any bases for him to get involved,” said the defense attorney, Rex Leach.
The plaintiff insisted their evidence proves the election is manipulated in favor of Proposition1. They said if the measure passes, they plan to get the decision thrown out.
“The best outcome would be that the opponents, the voters of this county, defeat the district at the polls,” said the plaintiffs’ attorney, Jerad Najvar. “But if that doesn’t happen, this is not the end of this… It’s clear that the county didn’t follow the statute regarding this election.”
The judge ruled that if the plaintiffs want to move forward with a trial, they’ll have to wait until after Nov. 9.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS will continue to follow this story.