Update, Nov. 9, 2:30 p.m.:
U.S. Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco conceded the Congressional District 23 race on Friday. He congratulated state Rep. Pete Gallego, while renewing allegations that voter fraud skewed the results.
“While there is no doubt there were improperly counted votes and improperly cast ballots, a full investigation and recount would be prohibitively expensive and time consuming,” Canseco said in a statement.
In the aftermath of a close and costly campaign for Congressional District 23, incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco has alleged voter fraud and is not conceding to his Democratic challenger, state Rep. Pete Gallego. Gallego finished 9,222 votes ahead of Canseco as of Wednesday morning.
“The race is not over, and it won't be until all votes are properly and legally counted," Canseco said in a statement the morning after the election.
Gallego campaign spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña said there is "no way" voter fraud occurred. “This just shows a lot about [Canseco’s] character, because he chose to go this route” rather than concede and congratulate Gallego, she said.
Canseco’s campaign alleges that officials in Maverick County double- or triple-counted some of the early vote sheets. A complaint to the secretary of state indicates that Canseco's campaign found a minimum of 57 duplicate votes when reviewing a list provided by the Maverick County Elections Office. The campaign also alleges that another county used photocopied ballots, a criminal offense, and that an extended delay in counting votes from other counties left “other questions unanswered.”
“There are too many disturbing incidents to declare this race over,” Scott Yeldell, Canseco’s campaign manager, said in a statement. “During the next several days we will be looking into these reports to assure only legal votes have been counted in this election.”
But Acuña said that even if all the votes from Maverick County — where Gallego received 6,291 more votes than Canseco — were excluded, Gallego still would have come out ahead. “His argument — it’s not at all valid," she said. "We won this race; it’s simple math.”
The Texas secretary of state’s office could not immediately be reached for comment. Below is a copy of the complaint filed by Canseco's campaign to the secretary of state.
Rich Parsons, the spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, confirmed that Canseco’s campaign has contacted their office, but he could not say whether an official complaint had been filed. He said that if the office received an official complaint, it could become the basis for a criminal investigation.
The Tribune originally reported Gallego led Canseco by 13,534 votes, but the count was later updated on the secretary of state’s website to reflect a 9,222-vote lead for Gallego.
Parsons said, “It looks like perhaps Medina County had corrected some numbers that they had originally input into the election night returns.” He added, “It’s not uncommon that vote totals can change,” and the official count for the election will not be finalized for 15 to 30 days.