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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Appellee Leroy Stanley, filed an election contest against appellant Donald Harrison after a close final vote tally in a runoff election for a Pasadena City Council position. The trial court refused appellant’s request to include in the final tally three ballots � those of Donald Howard, Angel Marino and Gary Gray � that had been excluded by the Early Voting Ballot Board because the relevant signatures did not match. Appellant filed this expedited issues on appeal. HOLDING:Affirmed. Several courts of appeals have held that the Election Code gives the ballot board the authority to compare the signatures on the carrier envelope and ballot application to determine if they are sufficiently similar, so as to compel the conclusion that they were made by the same person. The court agrees, and holds that the ballot board acted properly in comparing the signatures on the application and carrier envelope to determine whether they were signed by the same person. Appellant argues that the trial court erred, because it relied on the ballot board’s decision that the relevant signatures did not match, and repeats his argument that the correct standard is whether the signatures were made by the same person. The court finds that the signatures are not sufficiently similar to compel the conclusion that the voter signed both the carrier envelope and the ballot application. The court holds that, because appellant was not eligible for voter assistance under Texas Election Code �64.031, and received such, the trial court correctly excluded Howard’s ballot as illegal. Marino admitted that his two signatures did not match. The signatures do not compel the conclusion that they are sufficiently similar such that they were made by the same person. The court holds that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in rejecting Marino’s ballot. Gray’s ballot differs in the material sense in that, according to his testimony, his wife signed his ballot application and he signed the carrier envelope. Appellant argues that when certain sections of the Election Code are read together they support a spousal exception to the statutory requirement that the signatures be made by the same person. Section 84.003(d) of the statute only prevents a misdemeanor prosecution of a relative who knowingly fails to comply with the Election Code. It does not speak to the requirement delineated in �84.003(a) that a person signing a ballot application must indicate that person’s relationship to the voter. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding Gray’s ballot, the court concludes. OPINION:Nuchia, J.; Nuchia, Keyes and Hanks, JJ.

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