EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A little more than a month is left for candidates to campaign in El Paso Independent School District board races and one contest is heating up.
Candidate Arturo Dominguez alleges his opponent Leah Hanany should not be on the May 1 ballot, claiming she has not been a resident of District 1 long enough to qualify. But Hanany says she’s lived in the district for nearly two years.
The two are part of a three-candidate race with Jennie Tipton Lasley to decide who will represent communities on the West Side, Downtown, Segundo Barrio and Chamizal.
Dominguez has taken the issue to state court calling on the school district to remove Hanany from the ballot. But Hanany says her opponent’s allegation is baseless.
“I’m sorry that he feels bullying a candidate, rather than running on the issues, is appropriate given that our intent is to represent children,” she told KTSM 9 News. “I will continue to run a positive campaign focused on the things that will affect the children and schools in the neighborhood I love deeply.”
Dominguez’s suit in the Texas Eighth Court of Appeals gravitates around the El Paso County Elections Department’s record of Hanany’s voter registration address change in January. She had been registered to vote in a Lower Valley residence before that.
The court issued an order on March 29 signaling it will expedite review of the case and act by April 12.
Dominguez argues Hanany must have resided and been a registered voter in the EPISD district she is running in at least six months before the May 1 election.
“Wayne’s (Hanany) registration record and voter history show that at the time she voted in the November 3, 2020 General Election, she was registered to vote in El Paso County and implicitly claimed residence… outside of the District 1 territory,” Dominguez’s petition states.
A review of the El Paso Central Appraisal District shows Hanany and her husband have owned a property in the district since 2019.
Elizabeth Carrasco, EPISD’s operations manager for the Superintendent and Board, submitted an affidavit to the court claiming the district does not have a reason to believe Hanany has not resided in her district within the required timeframe to be a candidate.
“We have no record of any public record being presented to us indicating that this information is incorrect,” the affidavit says. “Had any public record relating to Ms. Hanany’s ineligibility for office been presented to me, that record would have been retained in our offices as part of our regular practice, in the course of our regularly conducted official activities.”
The school district replied to the court saying Dominguez’s petition lacks proof of whether Hanany did not reside in the district and argued against oral argument.
“Respondent submits that the petition is so clearly lacking in merit that oral argument should not be necessary,” the school district’s petition says.
Dominguez says Hanany admits to voting while registered at another address making her ineligible to run for the spot.
“I look forward to the court resolving the matter soon so we can focus on the real issues facing EPISD,” he said.