Former Austin Council Candidate Vexes Another Election
Dallas bond held up by Laura Pressley
In May, voters in the Dallas County Community College District approved a $1.1 billion bond proposal with more than 71% of the vote. Nevertheless, the district has not been able to issue the bonds or proceed with construction due to pending litigation – an election contest lawsuit against the DCCCD, filed by former GOP sheriff candidate Kirk Launius, who told D Magazine of his "grave concerns" about the county's voting system. Who raised these concerns to Launius? Why, Laura Pressley, the City Council candidate who contested her 2014 defeat by Greg Casar (35% to 65%) all the way to the Texas Supreme Court. In her résumé – among the 4,500 pages of exhibits to the Launius lawsuit – Pressley claims she "prevailed" at the TSC, although in fact the court declared her contest "moot" (upon Casar's reelection in 2016) but reversed financial sanctions imposed upon her on the grounds that her lawsuit was not "frivolous" on its face. As legal observers warned at the time, the ruling – which came after the intervention of Texas Attorney General Ken "Still Under Indictment" Paxton – freed Pressley to start a cottage industry promoting the notion of widespread irregularities in Texas elections.
Pressley, cited as an elections system "expert" in the Launius complaint, claims to have found "massive" irregularities in the Dallas County vote, sufficient to invalidate the entire election. The voluminous complaints range from alleged "mathematical discrepancies" in the computer-reported votes to a Launius claim of misplacing his folding stool while watching the count. The petition also cites former Texas Secretary of State David Whitley's debunked list of allegedly "illegal" voters as potentially affecting the Dallas totals. Attorneys for DCCCD board Chair Diana Flores filed a general denial of the Launius claims; the lawsuit is now in the discovery stage, with a nonjury trial scheduled for February. If it gets that far, the district, home to seven college campuses, will have to hang fire on its voter-approved plans for expansion.