Leal seeks new vote in BISD election

Challenger alleges illegal votes

Marisa F. Leal shares her hopes to be back in this room as a member of the BISD Board of Trustees soon in her address to the public Friday at Trustee for Position 6 Minerva Peña’s swearing in ceremony at the BISD Administration Building.(Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)


“Contestant (Leal) will show that numerous votes were illegally cast by individuals who were registered at an address not a residence and not their residence as defined by the Texas Election Code and therefore were not legally registered to vote in the election for the position of Place 6 on the Brownsville Independent School District Board of Trustees,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also contends that numerous voters casting ballots during early voting were assisted at the time they voted even though they were not eligible for such assistance in violation of the Texas Election Code and therefore these votes are illegal.

“Contestant will also show that numerous voters casting votes during early vote and on election day received assistance that was not limited to that authorized by the Texas Election Code at a polling place … and that said illegal assistance included encouraging the voter how to vote and/or even pressuring or coercing votes in violation of the Texas Election Code,” the lawsuit states. It also says numerous mail-in ballots were improperly counted.

The lawsuit says Leal will show at trial that the vote totals certified on Dec. 3 do not reflect the true result of the election and that a new trial should be ordered. It asks that the court appoint a special judge to hear the case because the District Court judge in the county where the election was held is statutorily disqualified from hearing the case.

Pena said she respects Leal’s right to dispute the election but believes she will ultimately prevail.

“I have proudly served my community for many years as a BISD board trustee,” Pena said in a statement to The Herald. “While I respect Ms. Leal’s right to dispute the election, I sincerely believe that when all is resolved I will continue my service as a BISD board member.”

Leal referred questions to her attorney.