A state appellate court has rejected Rep. Art Fierro’s (D-El Paso) attempt to force declare Rep. Claudia Ordaz Perez (D-El Paso) ineligible based on not meeting the residency requirement. In a per curiam ruling (PDF), the 8th Court of Appeals concluded “Ordez Perez satisfied the constitutional residency requirement” and El Paso Co. Democratic Chair Dora Oaxaca “did not err by declining to remove Ordaz Perez’s name from the ballot at Fierro’s request.”

El Paso Co. lost HD76 to Fort Bend Co. after redistricting, forcing the pairing of two representatives. Ordaz Perez was initially paired with Rep. Lina Ortega (D-El Paso) in HD77 (Safe D) but moved into HD79 (Safe D) to challenge Fierro instead. Ordaz Perez changed her voter registration to the HD79 address in October, roughly two months before she filed for the race.

Fierro contended Ordaz Perez does not meet the eligibility requirements under Section 141.001, Election Code. In relevant part, that provision requires a candidate to:

  • Have resided continuously in the state for 12 months
  • Have resided continuously in the territory from which the office is elected for six months immediately preceding … the date of the regular filing deadline for a candidate’s application for a place on the ballot, and
  • Be registered to vote in the territory from which the office is elected by the filing deadline, which was December 11.

Fierro argued Ordaz Perez does not meet the second of these requirements – residency for six months prior to the filing deadline – and thus is ineligible to seek the office. In addition, Fierro argued her voter registration at the new address does not become effective until 30 days after it is filed, which would mean she did not meet the constitutional 12-month residency requirement either.

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