A group of Friendswood residents is taking legal action against the city with the intention of voiding the results of the May 7 general and special elections.
The contestants stated in the lawsuit filed June 14 in Harris County District Court the results—which decided two City Council positions and a pair of sales tax increases—should be thrown out because a voting precinct in the city was left off the election ordinances.
Robert J. Bertrand, the first-named of eight contestants, also said in the original petition that Mayor Kevin Holland failed to order the election at least 78 days in advance as required by state law.
The contestants are asking the court to void the results and order new elections or exclude the voting precinct in question—Harris County Precinct 742—from the final canvass and exempt that area from any sales tax increases.
The council approved an agreement for special counsel with the Lewis Brisbois law firm July 11.
“The city will be responding to the election contest in due course and with the intention of preserving the voters’ choices as expressed on May 7,” city attorney Arnold Polanco said. “Given the pendency of legal proceedings, I will decline providing a point-by-point rebuttal of the allegations made. Needless to say, we find no basis for setting aside the will of the voters and look forward to the opportunity to present those matters to the court as expeditiously as possible.”
Harris County Precinct 742 encompasses a portion of Friendswood south of FM 528 and Bay Area Boulevard next to the city border with League City, according to court documents.
Carl Gustafson defeated Mike Stacy—one of the contestants in the lawsuit—for City Council Position 6 with 54.7 percent of the vote in May. Stacy lost by about 200 tallies. New Council Member Mike Foreman was elected to Position 4 in an uncontested race to replace Patrick McGinnis.
Voters also approved a pair of measures to raise the sales tax rate in the city. One measure added 3/8 of a percent to go toward city street maintenance and repair, and another 1/8 was approved to fund economic development in the Friendswood downtown district.