Fort Worth

Fort Worth councilwoman asks for election fraud lawsuit to be dismissed

Kelly Allen Gray is asking that the lawsuit filed against her by Chris Nettles be dismissed.
Kelly Allen Gray is asking that the lawsuit filed against her by Chris Nettles be dismissed.

City Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray is asking that a lawsuit filed against her alleging election fraud be dismissed.

The lawsuit — filed by Chris Nettles, who challenged her for the District 8 council seat in May — questioned the validity of more than 200 absentee ballots in that election.

Gray’s court filing asking for the dismissal states that the lawsuit was “constructed of a shotgun approach to unfounded allegations, over a frail foundation of spiteful speculation.”

It notes that the lawsuit was filed to harass Gray and it asks for court costs, attorney fees and for the court to sanction Nettles “to discourage repeat misconduct.”

Nettles, a justice of the peace clerk, has said his campaign reviewed the nearly 550 absentee ballots in the race and found differences in signatures on the applications and on the actual ballots. His staff indicated at least 200 of those ballots should be reviewed and discredited. He said they were evidence of election fraud.

Gray, who was first elected in 2012, won re-election with 53.48% of the vote, or 1,988 votes, to the 1,483 votes cast for Nettles. A third challenger, Kevin “KL” Johnson, drew 246 votes, according to Tarrant County election results.

The Nettles campaign “obtains the legal right to contest the election in the event a violation of the Texas Election Code occurs,” said Sally Matzen, a spokeswoman with the campaign, when asked for a comment about Gray’s dismissal request. “We will continue ... to protect the integrity and democracy of our elections against voter fraud.”

Attorneys for a woman accused along with her mother of taking part in a voter fraud ring that targeted the elderly in north Fort Worth say the women are "political footballs" being kicked around by those who was to suppress minority votes.

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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.