Potential litigation over residency in Galveston mayoral race

As soon as I posted on this brewing residency issue in Galveston, the City Secretary issued an official statement certifying Yarbrough’s name for the May 10 ballot.  That statement in substance reads in full:

James Yarbrough claimed no homestead exemption on any property in the year 2013.

He is eligible to be a candidate and his name will be on the May 2014 ballot.

He applied for a homestead exemption on property in Fayette County in March, 2012 and requested the exemption removed on September 8, 2013. The homestead exemption therefore was not applicable for the year 2013.

In my earlier post I said that, given the specific residency disqualifiers in the Galveston charter, the question as to whether or not the city secretary had authority to look beyond the application itself was perhaps more nuanced than in a regular case (in which such factual review is clearly verboten).  It appears that the secretary did examine extrinsic evidence but determined that Yarbrough still met the city requirements.

Galveston Daily News reported even before the City’s announcement that Mafrige was prepared to go to court if the Secretary certified Yarbrough for the ballot. If suit is filed, the court will have to determine whether the city charter requirements displace the Election Code default definitions (or supplement it), and if so, whether the city secretary’s application of the charter was correct.