In the case of Mary Lozano versus James Rosales, filed on June 15, court documents show that Lozano claims that there were at least nine persons who were denied the right to vote because of an error in the voter registration rolls. Lozano claims that these persons were not allowed to vote for her when they presented themselves at the polls.
Furthermore, Lozano asserts that four persons who requested early votes by mail were denied their right to vote due to ballots being sent to the wrong address, returned and not forwarded to correct address.
The lawsuit also claims that at least five persons who voted were not qualified to vote who were allowed to vote because of an error in the voter registration rolls.
Various other voting irregularities are listed in the lawsuit which seeks that the court find Lozano the winner of the election or call for a new election. The lawsuit furthermore asks that Lozano be awarded court costs and any other relief to which she may show herself entitled.
Lozano said that the redistricting process affected some of the voters in Precinct 3 and as a result some voters received voter registration cards that placed them in the wrong voting precinct.
During the week of early voting, Lozano said some voters told her that they intended to vote for her but were unable to do so because Lozano’s name was not on the ballot they were issued.
Lozano said she checked the map, and the people who had talked to her, did live within the boundaries of her precinct and should have been allowed to vote.
When asked how many people she had spoken with intended to vote for her, but were unable to, Lozano was hesitant to get into specifics.
“I am not ready to get into specific information at this time, because we are still in the legal process,” Lozano said. “The main reason I am going through this whole process here is because I think there needs to be a fair assessment of the election. I am looking for the true and correct outcome of the election.”
Lozano said she felt that voters were confused, and this was why it is possible that they didn’t bring it to the attention of an election worker before casting a ballot.
County Commissioner James Rosales said he had filed a response to the lawsuit and at this point is representing himself in the case.
Rosales said the lawsuit is in the hands of a district judge now, so he is just waiting to see what happens next.
“The thing that I want, is for this to not affect the voters in any way,” Rosales said. “I will defend myself. I’m not really worried about myself or what she puts me through. I just don’t want the voters to be put through anything they don’t need to be put through.”
Rosales said he believed the outcome of the election was fair. He said he was unaware of any irregularities in regard to voter registration.
County Clerk Carol Swize couldn’t confirm that any of the errors claimed in the lawsuit actually happened.
“From our standpoint, from early voting, and according to the precinct judges, nobody was denied a ballot,” Swize said. “If they came in and they were on the voters registration list, or even with or without their card, they were allowed to vote. Nobody was denied the right to vote.”
Swize said that no voters brought up the issue to any of the election workers at the polls before casting a ballot.
Regarding the allegations in the lawsuit regarding mailing of early ballots, Swize said that voter registration information is not always kept up to date. Swize said that her office makes every effort to get returned ballots in the mail to the correct address as quickly as possible.
“That is not always something that we have control over,” Swize said.
Swize added that it is important for voters to update their addresses on the voter registration rolls at the county tax office as soon as possible whenever they move.
“If it is not changed after a couple of years, and you are put on suspense, after another year you are just purged from the system,” Swize explained. “If you went to try and vote, you would not be allowed to at that point. Your vote would not count because you are no longer registered.”
“If you go to a polling location, and you are specifically looking for someone on that ballot, if you don’t see that name on the ballot, ask the clerk,” Swize said. “Chances are, there is a mistake, and that can be corrected before the ballot is cast. Once that ballot is cast, it is done. You can not take it back.”
The office of the Tax Assessor-Collector, who is responsible for issuing voter registration cards, couldn’t confirm any specific registration errors, either.
Tax Assessor-Collector Ann Franke said her office was trying to get to the bottom of any alleged registration errors, but without the names and addresses of the voters who claimed there were errors, she would have no way of tracking down any alleged error that might have happened.
Franke said she contacted attorney Eric Opiela, who is representing Lozano in the lawsuit, asking for the specific names and addresses of the voters who claimed to have reported errors with their registration cards, but had not yet received any of this information.
No court date has yet been set in the case which is currently under review by a district judge.