An Arlington City Council candidate who lost a June 10 runoff election by just two votes has filed suit against his opponent alleging voting fraud and asking to be declared the winner of the race.
Marvin Sutton, who ran against Roxanne Thalman to replace outgoing Distict 3 Councilman Robert Rivera, alleges ineligible mail-in ballots, as well as ineligible in-person votes, were counted while other eligible voters “were denied the right to vote.”
Thalman, 34, a development analyst who was sworn into office at the June 27 council meeting, could not be immediately reached for comment.
Tarrant County Election Administrator Stephen Vickers, whose office managed Arlington’s May 6 general election and June 10 runoff, responded, “We do everything in our power to keep our (voter) list up to date.” He said he hadn’t read the lawsuit yet and declined further comment.
Sutton, 54, who said he has been an election judge for 16 years, filed the three-page suit in 342nd State District Court in Fort Worth. He asks the court to declare him the winner or, if it can’t “determine the true winner,” to void the election results and order a new election.
“On information and belief, the number of illegal votes that were cast ... in this election is in a number sufficient to change the outcome of the election,” the lawsuit claims.
In the initial total vote tally, Thalman won the runoff 925-922; a final vote canvass later reduced the winning margin to two votes.
In the May 6 general election, Sutton finished with a 44.4 percent of the vote in a four-candidate race — short of the majority needed to win the seat outright. Thalman finished second with 34.8 percent and forced the runoff.
Sutton was not available for comment Tuesday, but in an interview last week, he said the one vote gained in the final canvass resulted from a visual inspection of a ballot that a scanner had misread. He also raised concerns about the large margin of mail-in votes that Thalman received in the runoff.
According to the Tarrant County elections office, Sutton had more in-person votes in the runoff — 408 to 320 — while Thalman won 70 percent of the mail-in votes. In the general election, Thalman received 49.5 percent of the mail-ins while Sutton received 37.6 percent.
“It’s a huge swing,” he said in the interview.