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The City of Peñitas Files for Temporary Restraining Order Against Hidalgo County

Requests Peñitas Public Library be Reinstated as a Poll Location 

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Peñitas, Texas – The City of Peñitas and Mayor Ramiro Loya have filed an application for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Hidalgo County to prevent the County from holding the election to elect Directors at Agua Special Utility District (Agua SUD) and the election to elect Board Trustees at La Joya Independent School District (La Joya ISD). The request for a TRO comes after Hidalgo County decided to remove the Peñitas Public Library as a polling place in violation of the Texas Election Code, the Texas Constitution, the United States Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.

The TRO was filed today, October 20, 2022, and names as defendants Hidalgo County Elections Department, Interim Elections Administrator Hilda A. Salinas, and Everardo Villarreal, in both his official capacity as Hidalgo County Precinct 3 Commissioner and in his individual capacity.

The TRO claims that Agua SUD and La Joya ISD both specifically ordered and designated the Peñitas Public Library as a polling place in the November 2022 General Election and both forwarded their election order to the Hidalgo County, who was contracted to conduct the election for both entities. The TRO further states that the Defendants ignored the election orders of both entities and “in blatant disregard for the wishes of the elected officials of these two entities,” the County decided to remove the Peñitas Library as a polling place. The TRO further asserts that the Defendants’ removing of the Peñitas Public Library has left multiple voting precincts located in the City of Peñitas without a polling place, which will disenfranchise the citizens of Peñitas in their fundamental right to vote by closing their city’s poll location.

“As Mayor of the City of Peñitas and a resident and voter myself, I am appalled that the County took this unilateral action against the wishes of the governmental entities holding elections in which Peñitas voters would like to have their voices heard,” said Mayor Ramiro Loya.

The Plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that Defendants are not allowed to proceed with the election for the District and Agua SUD if the Peñitas Public Library is not one of the polling places for those elected positions.

“The County’s actions will detrimentally disenfranchise eligible voters in Peñitas from voting in this very important election, and unless the Peñitas Public Library poll location is named a voting site, these elections cannot proceed,” Mayor Loya added.

The TRO is presently before Hidalgo County 92nd District Court Judge Luis Manuel Singleterry for review. The City of Peñitas and Mayor Loya anticipate a swift review of the application and a resolution to this matter as soon as possible. Early voting in the 2022 General Election begins on Monday, October 24, 2022.

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