Three unsuccessful Democratic candidates running to succeed U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) have sued former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar, who won the primary outright, and the chief election administrator, accusing them of election fraud. Former Rep. Norma Chavez (D-El Paso), John Carrillo and Enrique Garcia allege, without specific evidence, that employees within the county elections office engaged in “tampering” with hard drives on the voting machines “in high-producing voting locations” in order to “extract votes from petitioners for the benefit” of Escobar.
She received 61% of the vote, winning the primary without a runoff. The plaintiffs collectively received 14% of the vote. The other two Democratic primary candidates, Dori Fenenbock (22%) and Jerome Tilghman (3%), are not parties to the suit.
The suit cites the election department’s denial of Garcia’s request for “an external independent audit … to ensure accuracy of the equipment and election process” as indicative of wrongdoing.
In a Facebook post, Chavez lamented that the case was assigned to District Judge Judge Anna Perez. “It is well known in our social community, legal community and political community that Judge Perez is a very personal friend of Veronica Escobar.” Chavez also said that “numerous people have discovered early voting location discrepancies as well, and they are reporting this to the FBI” (Federal Bureau of Investigation).
According to federal campaign finance records, Perez gave Escobar’s campaign a pair of $250 contributions in 2017.
In a statement, Escobar said allegations of voter fraud should be taken seriously, but she was concerned that these allegations took the form of a lawsuit filed without evidence.
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