Nueces County Clerk named in a civil suit alleging voter suppression

Voting location
Posted at 10:24 PM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 23:44:33-04

Nueces County and county clerk Kara Sands have been named in a civil suit in which they are accused of violating the rights of voters.

The suit, filed last week, alleges that some mail-in ballots contained incomplete or incorrect instructions, including those which asked voters to provide identification, according to court filings.

The filing also alleges that a corrective letter was then sent to voters, further confusing them.

On Feb. 12, Sands briefed Nueces County Commissioners on the incident and said the letter was an "unfortunate incident, completely unintentional."

She told commissioners that the office is required to send a notice to specific voters to provide identification with their mail-in ballot, but 1,500 such letters were sent erroneously.

"As soon as I got to the bottom of it and found out, I wrote a personal letter... to every one of those voters," Sands told commissioners. "I thought it was important that it came from my letterhead... (and) to apologize to them."

"We feel terrible about it and we have implemented procedures to prevent this from happening again," she told commissioners.

The suit cites additional irregularities from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 elections, including a failure to count early votes, a lack of voting machines, candidates being left off certain ballots, and polling places failing to open by their mandated 7 a.m start time.

Plaintiffs Moses Estrada, Maureen Mayfield, Becky Moeller, Susan Reeves, Charles Siders and Linda White have requested a jury trial and are seeking more than $100,000.

Sands said she could not comment on pending litigation.