Christopher Maher

Jim Wells County Correspondent

Attorneys representing Guadalupe Martinez, J.C. Perez III, Juan Rodriguez Jr. and Wally Alanis were in court Monday for a hearing on the election contest filed by Rodriguez and Alanis, and learned they will go to trial on the issue this Friday.

State law establishes strict timelines that must be followed once an election contest is filed, leaving visiting District Judge Nelva Gonzalez-Ramos no choice but to schedule the cases for 9 a.m. Friday.

In a hearing Monday afternoon, Jaime Garza, the attorney representing Martinez and Perez, argued that the election contest should be thrown out because no specific allegations of fraud have been raised.

“We’re treading on very sacred democratic principles here, and they can’t just come in here with general allegations of fraud,” Garza told the court Monday.

In response to that argument, Phil Westergren, an attorney representing Alanis, filed a supplement to his original pleading and an answer to questions asked by Garza, in which he provided six sworn affidavits from individuals who claimed they were denied the right to vote for Alanis in the March primary.

Those affidavits, which include statements from Laura Ray Hatton, Jesus H. Garcia, Rebecca Munoz Hernandez, Jesus M. Hernandez, Mae Swozky and Juan Manuel Mata, mainly center on individuals who had their precinct and box number changed without notice.

Alanis lost his bid for re-election to Perez by two votes.

Judge Gonzalez-Ramos ruled the affidavits were sufficient to allow the case to continue for Alanis, and Rodriguez’s attorney, Ed Snyder, has until the end of business today to provide similar specific allegations of voter issues.

Westergren tried to argue that the trial should be delayed at least until Monday to allow the attorneys more time to prepare for the case.

“Nobody is going to have a new term for at least nine months, so what’s the rush?” Westergren asked.

Gonzalez-Ramos disagreed, and said state law requires the trial be held no later than Friday.

Under the timeline outlined in the hearing Monday, attorneys on both sides will have until Wednesday to file any additional petitions or discovery, including any additional findings of election fraud or misconduct, and then will have Thursday to respond to those filings before Friday’s trial.

Rodriguez lost his bid for Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace to Martinez by nine votes.Christopher Maher

Jim Wells County Correspondent

Attorneys representing Guadalupe Martinez, J.C. Perez III, Juan Rodriguez Jr. and Wally Alanis were in court Monday for a hearing on the election contest filed by Rodriguez and Alanis, and learned they will go to trial on the issue this Friday.

State law establishes strict timelines that must be followed once an election contest is filed, leaving visiting District Judge Nelva Gonzalez-Ramos no choice but to schedule the cases for 9 a.m. Friday.

In a hearing Monday afternoon, Jaime Garza, the attorney representing Martinez and Perez, argued that the election contest should be thrown out because no specific allegations of fraud have been raised.

“We’re treading on very sacred democratic principles here, and they can’t just come in here with general allegations of fraud,” Garza told the court Monday.

In response to that argument, Phil Westergren, an attorney representing Alanis, filed a supplement to his original pleading and an answer to questions asked by Garza, in which he provided six sworn affidavits from individuals who claimed they were denied the right to vote for Alanis in the March primary.

Those affidavits, which include statements from Laura Ray Hatton, Jesus H. Garcia, Rebecca Munoz Hernandez, Jesus M. Hernandez, Mae Swozky and Juan Manuel Mata, mainly center on individuals who had their precinct and box number changed without notice.

Alanis lost his bid for re-election to Perez by two votes.

Judge Gonzalez-Ramos ruled the affidavits were sufficient to allow the case to continue for Alanis, and Rodriguez’s attorney, Ed Snyder, has until the end of business today to provide similar specific allegations of voter issues.

Westergren tried to argue that the trial should be delayed at least until Monday to allow the attorneys more time to prepare for the case.

“Nobody is going to have a new term for at least nine months, so what’s the rush?” Westergren asked.

Gonzalez-Ramos disagreed, and said state law requires the trial be held no later than Friday.

Under the timeline outlined in the hearing Monday, attorneys on both sides will have until Wednesday to file any additional petitions or discovery, including any additional findings of election fraud or misconduct, and then will have Thursday to respond to those filings before Friday’s trial.

Rodriguez lost his bid for Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace to Martinez by nine votes.