ANGLETON — A lawsuit aimed at Brazoria County Commissioners and seeking a return to paper ballots has been dismissed with prejudice, meaning it can’t be refiled.
The lawsuit filed July 30 by Brazoria resident Patrice Vieira asked the county to discontinue what she deemed as uncertified and illegal voting systems, equipment, software and modifications and implement a hand-marked paper ballot and hand-count system instead.
District Judge Terri Holder dismissed the case on Sept. 13.
“I’m glad the judge saw through the lawsuit,” County Judge Matt Sebesta said. “It’s a lawsuit that is being filed by individuals in numerous counties throughout Texas and the United States, and I am glad the judge recognized it was a nuisance lawsuit and tossed it.”
Judge Holder ordered the suit be dismissed with prejudice, meaning that it can not be refiled in its present form.
“I am pleased that the judge listened to the arguments of the litigants to the extent of the law and was able to make a decision in the case to resolve it,” District Attorney Tom Selleck said.
The county’s current electronic devices provide paper receipts showing how a person cast their ballots as mandated by state law, implemented after the 2020 presidential election. Those paper documents are kept for 22 months after the election.
Multiple attempts to contact Vieira were unsuccessful.
The lawsuit sought to unseal absentee ballots and return envelopes, the absentee ballot elections reports and other paper and electronic information from the 2020 general election. Also included was a call to permit petitioners to review, examine, inspect and duplicate those materials.
The lawsuit claimed commissioners had violated the Texas Constitution Equal Protection Clause.
Vieira’s lawsuit also claimed the systems are vulnerable because they prevent the public release of the software used by the election machines that is accessible from an exterior computer network. She also alleged unauthorized software updates can be illicitly performed.
To assure a secure election system, there should never be a point at which individuals from a single organization can change software, the petition said.
“At a minimum, individuals from two different organizations should approve and verify any changes to the operating system,” the petition read.