PORT ARANSAS, Texas — UPDATE (4:34 p.m. March 17): According to Nueces County Chief Tax Appraiser Ronnie Canales, out of the 526 units at Cinnamon Shore, they only have two that are considered homestead homeowners, calling their original assertion into question. It is now being investigated by the Texas Attorney General's Office.
Several Port Aransas residents are concerned with a message circulating on social media regarding a popular vacation spot's alleged attempt to encourage their residents to have at least one member of their household register to vote in Nueces County.
In an email, Cinnamon Shore urged their residents to "consider having one member of your family register to vote in Port A." They then went on to explain their opposition of a proposed new, public beach access road near the development and provided information on how to register to vote, along with deadlines to register.
That letter was sent to the Port Aransas City Council and city staff in November 2021, suggesting alternatives to the city's proposed Beach Access Road 1B.
It states, "The southmost beaches in Port A have for decades provided a less traveled section of beach that's been utilized by the many communities developed south of Access Road 1...The wider more publicly accessible beaches to the North side of town offer capacity for many beachgoers and those looking to be close to all the action. While to the south, cherished lower traffic sections of privately owned beach area bring balance to the available beach experiences in Port A by offering a less populated and safer beach for families and residents."
The letter, signed by the general manager of Cinnamon Shore, goes on to describe the difference between a healthy visitor and an unhealthy visitor to Port Aransas.
"We would appreciate your support in helping elect officials whose vision for the city’s future aligns with ours," the email said.
“Asking people to move their residence to Cinnamon Shores in an effort to possibly sway the outcome of the mayoral election in May," said Kevin Kieschnick, Nueces County Voter Registrar. "It's very infuriating because it's stealing the people that actually live there, it's stealing their voice and how they choose to run their city."
KRIS 6 News reached out to the Texas Secretary of State who tells us, a person commits an offense if the person knowingly or intentionally makes any effort to cause a voter to become registered, a ballot to be obtained, or a vote to be cast under false pretenses.
"We're fine with second homeowners, but if you're not full-time resident and not living here, you don't want that to dictate what's going on in our local community," says Charles Clark, longtime Port Aransas resident.
KRIS 6 News also reached out to the Cinnamon Shore team regarding the email. They declined an on-camera interview, but did say it was a misunderstanding and have communicated that with their homeowners in a separate email, that states:
"Dear Cinnamon Shore Homeowners,
We would like to clarify the intention of a recent email that was sent to owners regarding the upcoming election in Port Aransas this May. The intention of the email was to encourage those that are legal residents of Port Aransas to vote. This communication was meant to address the homestead homeowners.
Also, to clarify, Cinnamon Shore has NOT endorsed any candidate, nor have we financially supported any candidate. If our previous email created any confusion, we apologize for that.
We look forward to seeing you on the beach this Spring.
The Cinnamon Shore Team"
"If I was a resident of Cinnamon Shore, I'd think hard and long before I change my address to vote here because of potential or legal implications," said Port Aransas resident Paul Wilhite.
Kieschnick met with the Texas Secretary of State and tells KRIS 6 News the matter is now under investigation by the Texas Attorney General's Office.