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Electronically Filed

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Hidalgo County District Clerks
Reviewed By: Alexis Bonilla

C-2637-18-B
CAUSE NO:___________

NORBERTO “BETO” SALINAS, § IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF
§
Contestant §
§
VS. § HIDALGO COUNTY, TEXAS
§
ARMANDO OCANA, §
§
Contestee. § _____ JUDICIAL DISTRICT

CONTESTANT’S ORIGINAL PETITION FOR ELECTION CONTEST

TO THE HONORABLE JUDGE OF SAID COURT:

COMES NOW, NORBERTO “BETO” SALINAS, Contestant in the above styled and

numbered cause, and through his attorney of record files the Petition for Election Contest

seeking to challenge the result of the Mission Municipal Election held on June 9, 2018 and

canvassed on June 18, 2018 would respectfully show the Court as follows:

INTRODUCTION

1. On June 9, 2018, the City of Mission held a run-off election for the office of Mayor. This

run-off election was a peculiar election. Bizarrely, it had a higher turnout than the main

municipal election held just a month earlier. Almost 6,800 voters turned out on June 9th, fully

600 more voters than the election held just 34 days before. Stranger still, more than one hundred

voters who had been previously registered in other cities and counties, switched their registration

in order to vote in this run-off election. In the May 5 election, the incumbent had nearly won

without a run-off. He had garnered 49.95% of the vote (3085 out 6175). Three votes more and

Mayor Salinas would have won straight away. In just 34 days, the electorate grew by 600 votes
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and Mr. Ocana had increased his support level from 41.63% to 51.15%. It was a stunning

reversal of political fortune. It seems three very unlikely things happened within 34 days: 1)

more than one hundred voters decided that they had become residents of Mission, Texas and

changed their voter registration just to take part in this election, 2) a run-off election in the dire

heat of a Texas summer suddenly experiences earth-shattering turnout, and 3) a candidate that

had barely broken 40% in the previous election won. There are dozens of possible explanations

for this outcome. Some may be legal. Some are unequivocally not.

2. In the days after his loss, Mayor Salinas focused on helping transition the City of Mission

to its new leadership. But, over the course of the past few weeks, dozens of voters have come to

him and his team and declared that they were paid to vote. Others have come to say that they

never requested a ballot nor received one, yet they are listed as having voted. As more and more

voters declared that their votes had been stolen from them, Mayor Salinas and his team began to

investigate these claims. What was uncovered was a systematic and flagrant scheme to cast

illegal votes to elect Mayor Ocana. Dozens of voters have admitted to being paid for their votes.

Scores of voters fraudulently changed their registrations to the City of Mission and voted by

mail. And, still others never touched their mail-in ballot and had their vote harvested and stolen

from them. These allegations are salacious. They are devastating. And, they will be proven true.

DISCOVERY CONTROL PLAN

3. Contestant pleads that discovery should be conducted pursuant to a Level 3 discovery

control plan. Tex. R. Civ. 190.4

PARTIES AND SERVICE

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4. Contestant, Norberto “Beto” Salinas, was a candidate and incumbent Mayor in the

municipal election held on June 9, 2018 in the City of Mission, Texas. Contestant is a resident of

Hidalgo County and the last four digits of his drivers license is 9905 and social security number

is 1409. He may be served by and through his counsel of record.

5. Contestee, Armando Ocana is the other candidate in said election who was declared a

winner. He is likewise a resident of Hidalgo County, Texas, and can be served at 4910

Shuerback Rd. or wherever he may be found.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

6. The District Court of Hidalgo County, Texas has exclusive jurisdiction and venue of this

cause of action pursuant to the Texas Election Code § 221.002(a) and § 232.006 (c).

STATEMENT OF FACTS

7. This is an election contest challenging the results of the June 9, 2018 Run-Off Election in

Mission, Texas.

8. On June 9, 2018, the City of Mission, Texas held a run-off election in which both the

Mayors position and one council member position were to be decided.

9. The candidates for Mayor were Norberto “Beto” Salinas and Armando Ocana.

10. On June 9, 2018, the election was held and the results were as follows:

Candidate Votes %

Norberto “Beto” Salinas 3,318 48.84%

Armando Ocana 3,475 51.15%

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11. Mr. Ocana was declared the winner by a margin of 157 votes. The result of the run-off

election was canvassed by the City Council of Mission, the canvassing authority, on June 18,

2018.

12. The true outcome of the election is not reflected in the final canvass.

Illegal Votes Cast

13. More than 158 illegal votes were allowed to be cast and accepted for voting. Those votes

were cast for candidate Ocana.

Non-Residents of Mission Casting Votes

14. Voters must “be a resident of the territory covered by the election for the office or

measure on which the person desires to vote.” Tex. Elec. Code § 11.001(a)(2).

15. At least 158 illegal voters were allowed to cast ballots including voters who were allowed

to vote despite not being residents of Mission, Texas. Paragraphs 16- 30 are examples of non-

resident voters who voted in this election.

16. A.B. voted in person on June 2, 2018. She resides in San Antonio Texas. Her driver’s

license lists the city of residence as San Antonio. Her vote was facilitated by her cousin who

worked for the Ocana campaign. Her mail-in ballot for the May 5 election was sent to her home

in San Antonio. A.B. is a resident of San Antonio and not Mission. Her vote was an illegal vote

in this run-off election and was illegally counted. She voted for Mr. Ocana.

17. Armando Ocana, Jr. voted in person. He resides in College Station, Texas. His driver’s

license lists the college station address. The Brazos County Appraisal District lists Mr. Ocana as

the owner of a home in College Station since 2016 with homestead exemption filed for that

home. Homestead exemptions are only for residences. Tex. Const. Art. VIII, § 1. Mr. Ocana is

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not a resident of Mission, Texas and cannot vote in Mission elections. His vote was illegally

accepted. He voted for candidate Ocana.

18. Spring Ocana is married to Armando Ocana, Jr. She resides in College Station, Texas.

Her driver’s license lists the college station address. The Ocana’s son just graduated from A&M

Consolidated High School in June of 2018. The Brazos County Appraisal District lists Mr. and

Mrs. Ocana as the owners of a home in College Station since 2016 with homestead exemption

filed for that home. Homestead exemptions are only for residences. Tex. Const. Art. VIII, § 1.

Mrs. Ocana is not resident of Mission, Texas and cannot vote in Mission elections. Her vote was

illegally accepted. She voted for candidate Ocana.

19. R.S. voted by mail. She resides in Victoria, Texas. Her mail is delivered to Victoria. Her

driver’s license has a Kingsville address. Her previous voter registration shows a Charlotte

registration. She has never been a resident of Mission, Texas. She was registered to vote in

Mission, Texas on February 5, 2018 by Ocana campaign work. She does not live in Mission and

is not a resident of Mission. Her vote was illegally accepted. She voted for candidate Ocana.

20. O.P. voted in person. O.P. lives outside the city limits of Mission. She is the mother of

Cynthia Pacheco, who was an Ocana campaign worker. The Hidalgo County Appraisal District

shows that her homestead exemption is filed for her home that is outside the city limits of

Mission. She is registered to vote in a home in Mission, 617 Perkins. This home has 7 people

registered at this address. She does not reside at this address. O.P. is not a resident of Mission.

Her vote was illegally accepted. She voted for candidate Ocana.

21. A.D.L.C. voted in person. She is not a resident of Mission; she lives in a home in San

Antonio, located at 1106 Baybrook San Antonio, Texas 78523. ADLC also owns a home in

Mission located at 3310 N. Conway Ave. Mission, Texas, but has her home in San Antonio listed

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as the mailing address in the Hidalgo County Appraisal District records. She is not a resident of

Mission and her vote was illegally accepted. She voted for candidate Ocana.

22. Louis Ortega voted in person. Mr. Ortega lives in Edinburg. He is the brother to Mission

Councilwoman Jessica Ortega, and candidate Ocana is his uncle. His car is registered in

Edinburg at the home at which his wife and children reside. His wife’s voter registration and

driver’s license are listed at 1221 Kokopelli Dr. in Edinburg. Mr. Ortega is not a resident of

Mission and his vote was illegally accepted. He voted for candidate Ocana.

23. A.R. voted in person. A.R. is not a resident of Mission, Texas. He changed his voter

registration on March 28, 2018. His previous residence was Round Rock, Texas. His Texas

driver’s license lists a Round Rock, Texas address. He is a target of the Agua Special Utility

District voter fraud investigation. He is not a resident of Mission, Texas and his vote was

illegally accepted. He voted for candidate Ocana.

24. I.S. voted in person. For the March primary election, she voted in Penitas, Texas. She

changed her voter registration to Mission in order to vote in the June 2018 election. She does not

reside in Mission and her vote was illegally accepted. She voted for candidate Ocana.

25. J.A.C. was not a registered voter of Mission, Texas by May 9, 2018. He was, therefore,

not a registered voter in Mission by the deadline to vote in June 9, 2018 election. He was allowed

to vote and his vote was illegally accepted. He voted for candidate Ocana.

26. R.O. voted by mail. She changed her address from La Joya to Mission. She is not a

resident of Mission and does not live in Mission, Texas. Her vote was illegally accepted. She

voted for candidate Ocana.

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27. J.R.S. voted in person. He is not a resident of Mission, Texas. He recently changed his

voter registration from Alton to Mission. This change was done fraudulently and Mr. Sanchez

still lives in Alton. His vote was illegally accepted. He voted for candidate Ocana.

28. RCG voted by mail. He resides in Maryland and cannot be a resident of Mission, Texas.

His mail-in ballot was delivered to his Maryland address. His residence in Maryland is his

homestead. He is not a resident of Mission. In addition, his change of voter registration to

Mission occurred after the date necessary to be eligible for the run-off election. RCG is not a

resident of Mission and his vote was illegally accepted. He voted for Ocana.

29. Just like many of his voters, Dr. Ocana and his wife, Maria De Jesus Ocana, do not

reside in Mission, Texas. They are registered to vote at 927 Greenlawn in Mission, which is a

home measuring 1,302 square feet, with six people registered to the home: Armando Ocana, Jr.,

Armando Ocana, Maria De Jesus Ocana, Spring Ocana, Mathew Ocana, and Margarita Ortega.

All these people claim to reside in the Greenlawn home, plus their children. The true residence of

Dr. Ocana and his wife is outside of the city limits of Mission, Texas on Shuerback Rd.

30. At least 121 voters total recently registered to vote in Mission, who are not residents of

Mission, and fraudulently registered to vote in this election. Those registrants voted for candidate

Ocana. In total, at least 158 voters registered fraudulently, reside outside of Mission, or were not

legally registered to vote in Mission. These votes are illegal votes and were illegally accepted.

These voters voted for candidate Ocana.

Mail-In Ballot Harvesting

31. It is a crime for a person to “knowingly possesses an official ballot or official carrier

envelope provided under this code to another” voter. Tex. Elec. Code § 86.006 (f). Ballots

illegally harvested in this manner “may not be counted”. Tex. Elec. Code § 86.006 (h).

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32. At least 158 voters were allowed to cast illegal votes, including voters who had their

mail-in ballots harvested by Ocana campaign workers or were inappropriately assisted.

Paragraphs 33- 44 are examples of mail-in ballot harvesting in this election.

33. MM voted by mail. Her mail-in ballot application was completed on January 26, 2018.

She was assisted in filling out her ballot by an Ocana campaign worker named Esmeralda Lara.

Ms. Lara told her to vote for Dr. Ocana and, then, she left with the ballot. This assistance was not

marked or signed for on the carrier envelope. This is illegal assistance and illegal possession of

another voter’s ballot. A ballot that has been illegally assisted or harvested may not be counted.

MM voted for candidate Ocana.

34. EG voted by mail. EG completed his mail-in ballot application on January 29, 2018.

Esmeralda Lara assisted him with his mail-in ballot. Esmeralda Lara took his ballot after she

assisted him in voting. He signed the carrier envelope, but did not seal it. Ms. Lara’s assistance

was not marked or signed for on the carrier envelope of EG’s mail-in ballot. This is illegal

assistance and illegal possession of another voter’s ballot. A ballot that has been illegally assisted

or harvested may not be counted. While EG wanted to vote for Mayor Beto Salinas, his mail-in

ballot was voted for candidate Ocana.

35. MM & BM voted by mail. Veronica Ocana, an Ocana campaign worker, came to thier

house and assisted with their mail-in ballots. Ms. Ocana left with their ballots. This assistance

was not marked or signed for on the carrier envelope. This is illegal assistance and illegal

possession of another voter’s ballot. A ballot that has been illegally assisted or harvested may not

be counted. MM and BM voted for candidate Ocana.

36. GB and EB voted by mail. An Ocana political operative, Liz, assisted them with their

mail-in ballot and took the ballot with her. GB does not recall requesting a mail-in ballot by

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application and does not believe that her signature is on the application or ballot. The

“assistance” provided by Liz was not noted on the carrier envelope. This is illegal assistance and

illegal possession of another voter’s ballot. A ballot that has been illegally assisted or harvested

may not be counted. GB and EB voted for candidate Ocana.

37. GP voted by mail. Her application was completed May 15, 2018. Elizabeth “Liz”

Hernandez, an Ocana political operative, assisted her with her ballot. This assistance was not

signed for or marked on the carrier envelope, then Hernandez took possession of the envelope

containing the ballot. This is illegal assistance and illegal possession of another voter’s ballot. A

ballot that has been illegally assisted or harvested may not be counted. GP’s mail-in ballot was

voted for candidate Ocana.

38. LP voted by mail. His application was completed May 15, 2018. Elizabeth “Liz”

Hernandez, an Ocana political operative, assisted her with her ballot. This assistance was not

signed for or marked on the carrier envelope, then Hernandez took possession of the envelope

containing the ballot. This is illegal assistance and illegal possession of another voter’s ballot. A

ballot that has been illegally assisted or harvested may not be counted. LP’s mail-in ballot was

voted for candidate Ocana.

39. EA voted by mail. Her application was completed on May 17, 2018. Elizabeth “Liz”

Hernandez, an Ocana political operative, assisted her with her ballot. This assistance was not

signed for or marked on the carrier envelope and, then Ms. Hernandez took possession of the

envelope containing the ballot. This is illegal assistance and illegal possession of another voter’s

ballot. A ballot that has been illegally assisted or harvested may not be counted. Though she

intended to vote for Beto Salinas, EA’s mail-in ballot was voted for candidate Ocana.

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40. SDLC voted by mail. Veronica Ocana and Esmeralda Perez assisted him with his mail-in

ballot. They took his ballot after assisting him in voting. The assistance was not marked or

signed for on the carrier envelope of SDLC’s mail-in ballot. This is illegal assistance and illegal

possession of another voter’s ballot. A ballot that has been illegally assisted or harvested may not

be counted. SDLC’s mail-in ballot was voted for candidate Ocana.

41. HA voted by mail. His application was completed on January 26, 2018. He voted for Dr.

Ocana because he was told that if he voted for Dr. Ocana that he would be assisted with his light

bill. It is bribery to offer anything of value in exchange for a voter’s vote. See Tex. Penal Code §

36.02 (1); infra @ ¶ 48. Liz Hernandez assisted with his ballot. This assistance was not notated

on the carrier envelope. Ms. Hernandez took possession of his ballot. This is illegal assistance

and illegal possession of another voter’s ballot. A ballot that has been illegally assisted or

harvested may not be counted. HA’s mail-in ballot was voted for candidate Ocana.

42. CG voted by mail. He was asked to vote by mail by a female working for the Ocana

campaign. He did not remember her name or what she looked like. She took his mail in ballot.

This is illegal possession of another voter’s ballot. A ballot that has been illegally assisted or

harvested may not be counted. CG’s mail-in ballot was voted for candidate Ocana.

43. NG voted by mail. She was asked to vote by mail by a female working for the Ocana

campaign named Maribel. Maribel took the mail-in ballot. This is illegal possession of another

voter’s ballot. A ballot that has been illegally assisted or harvested may not be counted. Ms.

Garza’s mail-in ballot was voted for candidate Ocana.

44. Upon information and belief, at least 75 and probably many more mail-in ballots were

inappropriately assisted or illegally in the possession of Ocana campaign operatives.

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45. Upon information and belief, other mail-in ballots were illegally accepted for voting

whose signatures on the carrier envelope did not match the mail-in ballot application.

46. Upon information and belief, other mail-in ballots were illegally accepted for voting

whose voters were not entitled to receive a mail-in ballot because they were not disabled, older

than 65, out of town for the entirety of the voting period, or for any other reason disqualifying

reason.

47. Upon information and belief, other irregularities in counting, processing and

administration of mail-in ballots occurred in his election that lead to the acceptance of illegal

votes.

Bribery

48. “A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly offers, confers, or agrees

to confer on another, or solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept from another… any benefit as

consideration for the recipient's decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of

discretion as a … voter.” Tex. Penal Code § 36.02 (1).

49. At least 158 voters were allowed to cast illegal votes, including voters who were bribed

by Ocana campaign workers. Paragraphs 50- 68 are examples of non-resident voters who voted

in this election.

50. JV voted in person. In exchange for his vote, JV was offered wood. He voted for

candidate Ocana.

51. Several Members of the M family voted in this election. They were paid for their vote.

They all voted for candidate Ocana.

52. PD voted in this election. She was assisted to vote by Guadalupe Ocana. She was paid for

her vote. She voted for candidate Ocana.

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53. MG and DG voted in this election. Each were paid $10 for their vote. They voted for

candidate Ocana.

54. LM voted in this election. He was paid for his vote. He voted for candidate Ocana.

55. CG voted in this election. He was paid for his vote. He voted for candidate Ocana.

56. SJM voted in this election. She was paid for her vote. She voted for candidate Ocana.

57. EG voted in this election. She was paid for her vote. She voted for candidate Ocana.

58. EG voted in this election. She was paid for her vote. She voted for candidate Ocana.

59. JN voted in this election. He was paid for his vote. He voted for candidate Ocana.

60. AN voted in this election. He was paid for his vote. He voted for candidate Ocana.

61. EN voted in this election. He was paid for his vote. He voted for candidate Ocana.

62. SD voted in this election. He was paid $10 to vote in the general election on May 5 and

then was paid $20 to vote in the runoff. He was contacted via Facebook messenger by Benji

Tijerina and Jesus Rodriguez. He was picked up in a van and assisted to vote by Cindy Pacheco

the first time. After he voted, she told the drivers of the van to pay him. The second time he

voted, he was assisted by Lupita Ocana. Jesus and Charlie Rodriguez paid him the second time.

63. OD voted in this election. Veronica Ocana and Roy Vela, Ocana campaign operatives,

picked him and his family up to vote in a van rented by Veronica Ocana. He said 5 people in his

family were paid $40 each to vote for Dr. Ocana. He was assisted to vote by Veronica Ocana.

64. RD voted in this election. She was paid for her vote. She voted for candidate Ocana.

65. JD voted in this election. He was paid for his vote. He voted for candidate Ocana.

66. PG (age 46) and FG (age 34) voted in this election. They were paid for their vote. They

were assisted by Guadalupe Ocana and Laura Rodriguez. They voted for candidate Ocana.

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67. YIG (age 34) and AG (age 34) voted in this election. They were paid for their vote. They

were both assisted by Veronica Ocana. They voted for candidate Ocana.

68. JDN was offered $20 by Jesus Rodriguez to vote for Dr. Ocana. He declined, but knows

of serveral voters that accepted money to vote for Dr. Ocana.

69. Upon information and belief, at least 165 voters and, probably, many more were assisted

inappropriately by Ocana campaign workers. These assisted voters were taken in a van to vote at

polling places and promised money or something of value for their votes. After the voting was

completed and confirmed by the assistant, the bribe was given to the voter.

70. Illegal votes tainted with bribery cannot be accepted.

Other Illegally Accepted Votes

71. Upon information and belief, voters who were not eligible to vote were allowed to vote.

72. Upon information and belief, voters without proper ID were allowed to vote.

73. Upon information and belief, voters were allowed to vote who did not meet the

mandatory requirements of the election code and the rules of the Secretary of State.

74. Upon information and belief, voters who were allowed to vote who were inappropriately

assisted by the Ocana campaign.

75. Upon information and belief, voters were illegally coerced into voting for Ocana or

coerced against voting and would have voted for Salinas but for the coercion.

Legal Votes Not Accepted for Voting

76. Upon information and belief, at least 158 votes were illegally accepted and legal votes

not accepted, rendering the true outcome of the election unknown. The illegally accepted votes

voted for candidate Ocana. The legal votes that were not accepted for voting voted or would

have voted for candidate Salinas.

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77. 13 mail-in ballots were rejected in the run-off election. These ballots were illegally

rejected. Those legal voters voted or would have voted for candidate Salinas.

78. There were one or more provisional voters. These ballots were illegally rejected. Those

legal voters voted or would have voted for candidate Salinas.

79. There were voters who were disallowed from voting because of lack of photo

identification without being given a chance to complete a reasonable impediment affidavit.

These ballots were illegally rejected. Those legal voters would have voted for candidate Salinas.

80. There were other voters who were eligible and qualified who did not vote because of

intimidation, coercion, administrative error, or malice.

Administrative Errors

81. There were other irregularities in the casting and counting of votes that reversed the true

outcome of the election.

82. There were other administrative errors by the election authority that reversed the outcome

of the election or that rendered the true outcome of the election unknowable.

83. There were other irregularities in the casting and counting of votes that reversed the true

outcome of the election.

84. Norberto “Beto” Salinas is the true winner of the run-off election held on June 9, 2018.

85. In the alternative, the true outcome of the election is unknown.

NOTICE OF DISQUALIFICATION

86. Pursuant to Texas Election Code § 231.004, notice is hereby given that this matter

involves territory covered by the District Court of Hidalgo County. As such, the regularly and

duly elected judge of this Court is statutorily disqualified. The District Clerk shall promptly

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notify the judge of this filing so that a special judge may be assigned to hear this matter, Texas

Election Code § 231.004 (b).

REQUIRED NOTICE

87. Pursuant to the Texas Election Code § 232.009 (a) (1), Contestant specifically requests

that the head Canvassing Authority, Mayor Armando Ocana ( Canvassing Official, City of

Mission) be notified by the District Clerk’s office of the filing of the Contest. Such notice

should be sent to him at the City of Mission Office at 1201 E. 8th Street, Mission, Texas 78572.

CAUSE OF ACTION

88. As a result of the election irregularities, the canvass does not reflect the true result. Upon

trial of this contest, contestant will show that the true winner of the election can be determined

and Norberto “Beto” Salinas be declared the winner after the acceptance of all illegally rejected

votes or the rejection of illegally accepted votes. In the alternative, if the true outcome of the

election cannot be determined, Contestant requests that the election results be declared void, and

that a new election be held. Should a new election be ordered by this Court, Contestant requests

that this Court maintain supervisory jurisdiction over the election, and issue sufficient orders to

prevent a recurrence of the irregularities which impugned the election in question.

89. Neither Contestant nor Constestee are entitled to attorney’s fees as there is no basis in

Texas statutory law for either prevailing contestants or prevailing Contestees to recover

attorneys' fees. However, if the Contestee engages in frivolous or otherwise sanctionable

behavior, Contestant reserves the right to seek attorney’s fees in accordance with the law and

Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

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PRAYER

90. WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, Contestant prays that after trial on the

merits on his cause of action, that the results of the election and canvass be re-tallied, such that

Contestant be declared the true winner of the election, or alternatively, that the election be

declared void because the result cannot be determined and a new election be ordered to be held.

91. Contestant prays that the result of the June 9, 2018 Mission Municipal run-off election be

declared void, that a new election be ordered held as soon as is practical, that Contestant be

granted his consequential damages, and for all other and further relief, either at law of in equity,

to which Contestant may show himself justly entitled

Respectfully submitted,

RICARDO “RICK” SALINAS
Texas Bar No. 00786220
2011 N Conway Ave
Mission, TX 78572-2965
956-584-3900
rsalinaslaw@yahoo.com

JOSE GARZA
Texas Bar No. 07731950
Law Office of Jose Garza
7414 Robin Rest Dr.
San Antonio, Texas 78209
(210) 392-2856
garzpalm@aol.com

MARTY GOLANDO
Texas Bar No. 24059153
The Law Office of Martin Golando, PLLC
115 E. Travis, Ste. 1705
San Antonio, Texas 78205
o: (210) 892-8543
c: (210) 471-1185
f: (210) 428-6448
martin.golando@gmail.com

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/s/ Martin Golando_____________
Martin Golando
Attorneys for Contestant

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