Sunday, March 21, 2010


The District Attorney’s Office and the Texas Rangers are continuing to probe allegations of possible irregularities involving mail-in ballots in the March 2 primary elections.

District Attorney Heriberto Silva told The Rio Grande Herald on March 4, “I’m investigating whether 112 mail-in ballots delivered to the Post Office were delivered in violation of the statute.”

Silva emphasized, “Right now these are merely allegations. We will follow up and investigate the allegations.”

“The envelopes were impounded, not the ballots,” explained the D.A. “I did not take custody of the ballots, but the envelopes and applications for mail-in requests.”

Silva stated, “We were told by the (Rio Grande City) Postmaster and the Texas Rangers that there is an issue regarding mail-in ballots. The Postmaster contacted his superior and the Rangers contacted our office. I started an investigation based on what the Ranger told me.”

Silva continued, “I requested that the Ranger take custody of the ballots. I got a court order from District Judge Garza that the ballots be impounded…We made the request on Monday (March 1); the ballots were impounded on Tuesday (March 2).”

The official explained, “The allegation is that the mail-in ballots, a total of 112, were delivered without the ballots being signed on the outside…If it’s not your ballot and you deliver it, you have to sign the outside of the ballot.”

Silva pointed out, “Anyone who assists the voter (casting a mail-in ballot) must sign that they provided the assistance.”

“I consulted with the (Texas) Secretary of State’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office,” he declared, “I am requesting the Rangers’ continued assistance.”

During the middle of last week, KRGV-TV, Channel Five reported that a recount would be taking place in the District Clerk’s race. After ballots were counted, incumbent Eloy R. Garcia, seeking a second term, held an 88-vote lead over challenger Dave “Chachi” Jones. Garcia received 3169 votes, or 50.7 percent, to 3081 votes, or 49.3 percent, for Jones.

The Rio Grande Herald attempted to contact Silva on Monday, March 15, but was unable to reach him.

The Herald also tried to contact Elections Administrator Rafael Montalvo on Monday, but was unable to reach him.

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