City of McAllen challenging state law over election

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The city of McAllen is suing the state of Texas over a 2009 law that allows counties to administer city and school elections.

After concerns with local elections in Hidalgo County, Texas Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (D-McAllen) drafted Senate Bill 1402, saying that if and when there are enough signatures on a petition, Texas counties can administer school and city elections.  

Hinojosa wasn’t immediately available for comment for this story.

McAllen mayoral candidate Othal Brand wants Hidalgo County to administer the upcoming city election — not the city of McAllen. Brand, and 39 others, signed a petition which was received by McAllen's city secretary on Dec. 23, 2020.

"Let's just say for all parties concerned, I think that it would make everybody more comfortable, particularly me,” Brand said.

Now, the city of McAllen is suing Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs and the state of Texas, saying the law was targeted specifically at Hidalgo County.

The law only applies to Texas counties with an elections administrator, a population greater than 500,000 people and a county which does not have a city with more than 150,000 people.

McAllen Assistant City Attorney Isaac Tawil says the city has the equipment and enough personnel for the election on May 1.

"I have all the faith in the city of McAllen to conduct a fair and impartial election,” said Tawil.

Tawil said the legal battle could take months to resolve.

The city election will continue as planned on May 1.


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