Ofelia Garcia Hunter

Alice Echo-News Journal

(Sixth in an ongoing series by the Alice Echo-News Journal on potential voter fraud in the March 4 Primary in Jim Wells and Brooks counties.)

County Commissioner Zenaida Sanchez’s staff members scattered from the Pct. 1 yard?Friday as they avoided questions about their March 4 Primary mail-in ballot applications which claimed they were disabled.

Through a Freedom of Information request, the Alice Echo-News Journal found seven different application requests sent to Sanchez’s assistant, Norma Chavarria Casas, at her home address at 129 West 7th Street.

After review, it was discovered there were 14 applications written in the same handwriting, which seemed to match Casas’ own application. None of the application requests were marked as having a witness or an assistant. All indicated the voter was disabled.

On Friday, Casas was inside the precinct office and would not open the door for comment. Several Pct. 1 employees said Casas was with Sanchez at a meeting and didn’t know when she would return to the office, though her car was parked outside. After reporters left the premises, but stayed close by, it took Casas about 30 seconds to dash from the office to her blue Durango and speed off southbound on Highway 281.

Casas’ application listed her as being disabled. Pct. 1 head foreman Andres “Andy” Chavarria’s application listed him as being disabled as well. He wouldn’t comment on why his application was marked disabled.

“I have no comment and I don’t want to be recorded,” Chavarria said as he jumped in the precinct truck and drove off.

Chavarria’s wife, Juanita Zamora Chavarria, and their son, Andres Chavarria III, who was born in 1986, also requested applications and marked disability as the reason for voting by mail.

The mail-in application request form states, “I certify that the information given in this application is true, and I understand that giving false information in this application is a crime.”

Another applicant, Caesar Ochoa, whose ballot was marked to be mailed to Casas’ home, admitted to not being disabled and got upset about being questioned.

Also, the home address listed on his application on Carmen Street is also incorrect. It’s his father-in-law’s home.

“I filled out one of those paper things, maybe I did it by mistake…I’m not disabled, I’m here,” Ochoa said as he gradually raised his voice, pointing his finger. “Why am I getting all these questions? I’ve already done my voting and that’s all you need to know. If it comes out in the paper I’m suing you ma’am. I’m asking you nicely to get out of here…you want to do this and write it in the paper, I’m suing your (explicit).”

Sanchez could not be reached regarding her employees’ ballot requests citing they were disabled.