With support from just six voters, Cesar Rodriguez Jr. won a seat on the Agua Special Utility District board in May 2014.
Four years later, Rodriguez is running for re-election with a not-so-secret weapon: five relatives who registered to vote using his address.
Rodriguez and his wife, Ariana Trevino, own a house on West 30th Street in Mission. They apparently share the nearly 1,900-square-foot home with five relatives, according to Hidalgo County Elections Department records.
All five relatives either registered to vote or updated voter registration records during March.
“No comment, please,” Rodriguez said when asked about the voter registrations. “Thank you. Have a nice day.”
Five ballots could make a big difference in Mission.
When Rodriguez ran for the utility board in May 2014, just 11 people cast ballots, according to Elections Department records. Six supported Rodriguez — who won by a single vote.
Elections Department records show 279 registered voters eligible to cast ballots during the May 2018 campaign.
They’re scattered on the western edge of Mission, where the utility district provides water service.
Rodriguez, who works for the La Joya Independent School District, is running for re-election against businessman Eric Sanchez. Both candidates own homes on West 30th Street, where they’re competing for votes from friends and neighbors.
The winner will represent Mission on the utility board, which manages an approximately $10 million budget and ultimately supervises more than 60 employees.
Turnout on Monday, when 24 people voted, more than doubled the total number of ballots cast four years ago.
Six voters, though, were registered with Rodriguez’s address.
“If all those people live there? Wow,” Sanchez said. “That’s a pretty small house for six people — and for his kids.”
Sanchez said he notified the Elections Department about the situation. A spokeswoman for the Elections Department said she couldn’t verify whether or not a complaint had been submitted without a formal public information request.
“I don’t see the need to put other people there,” Sanchez said, adding that he wants a fair campaign.
Along with Rodriguez and his wife, five relatives listed the house on West 30th Street as their residence, according to Elections Department records:
Cecilia Flores, 59 updated her voter registration on March 28, according to the Elections Department. Public records list a previous address for Flores on West “F” Street in Mission.
Karina Rodriguez, 40, updated her voter registration on March 22, according to the Elections Department. Public records list the same home on West “F” Street as a previous address.
Guadalupe V. Trevino, 62, updated his voter registration on March 22, according to the Elections Department.
Public records list a previous address on Esther Street in Mission, where he received a homestead exemption.
Ricardo Trevino, 21, updated his voter registration on March 22, according to the Elections Department. Public records list the same home on Esther Street as a previous address.
Andrez Rodriguez, 29, updated his voter registration on March 28, according to the Elections Department. Public records list a previous address in Round Rock.
Whether or not they actually live with Rodriguez remains unclear.