FREDERICKSBURG — Laura Pressley and three other people huddled inside a Fredericksburg courtroom Monday, bowing their heads, closing their eyes, holding hands and beginning to pray in hushed voices.
“In Jesus’ name, Amen,” the group whispered, just moments before the trial was set to begin in their lawsuit contesting the results of a 3-year-old city election.
Their prayers appear to have gone unanswered. On Monday, almost immediately after arguments concluded, 216th District Court Judge Stephen Ables denied the relief they sought. He would not, he said, overturn the election.
“I had to make a finding that these ‘irregularities’ changed the results of the election,” he said. “I don’t think I have the basis to do that.”
The lawsuit was filed against Fredericksburg’s former mayor in early 2020 by poll watcher and anti-fluoride activist Jeannette Hormuth and local election judge Jerry Farley of Fredericksburg. The suit claimed election malfeasance in connection with the defeat of a 2019 proposal to remove fluoride from the city’s water system. Pressley’s Austin-based attorney, Roger Borgelt, represented Hormuth and Farley in court Monday.
It is the latest in a string of court losses for Pressley, a longtime Central Texas anti-fluoride activist, conspiracy theorist, perennial candidate for office and self-styled trainer for poll watchers who even has her own state political action committee. This year alone, the Texas Supreme Court has dismissed at least two lawsuits she filed against the secretary of state, in which she claims the office isn’t following election law. This pattern, election experts and advocates say, promotes misinformation, wastes resources and could further harm the election process.
*Original full-text article online at: https://www.texastribune.org/2022/10/13/election-integrity-lawsuit-fredericksburg/