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Llano County to consider counsel for ballot tracking lawsuit

The Llano County Commissioners Court will meet in special session at 9 a.m. April 15 to consider hiring outside counsel for a fourth lawsuit, which was recently filed against the county and the Texas Secretary of State. Seen in a previous meeting are commissioners Jerry Don Moss (left) and Linda Raschke, Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham, and commissioners Peter Jones and Mike Sandoval. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The Llano County Commissioners Court is expected to hire a lawyer for the most recent of four civil lawsuits against the county during a special meeting on Monday, April 15, at 9 a.m. 

Also on the agenda is the hiring of two additional part-time positions in the Llano County Attorney’s Investigator’s Office and an amended plat for The Preserve at Show Lake to correct a “scrivener error.” 

The meeting ends with an executive session to discuss the Llano County Sheriff’s Office, Mirelez v. Llano County et al., Senate Bill 22, and a facilities easement with ATMOS Energy on Llano County school lands in West Texas. 

Senate Bill 22, which was passed by the 88th Texas Legislature in 2023, establishes a grant program to provide financial assistance to qualified sheriffs, constables, and prosecutor offices in rural counties. The bill went into effect on Sept. 1, 2023, and could benefit Llano County. 


Commissioners are expected to hire outside counsel at the special meeting to represent Llano County in an election lawsuit filed on March 26. Pressley et al. v. Nelson et al. questions the use of ballot tracking numbers in the county’s election software system.

Named as defendants are Texas Secretary of State Jane Nelson, Director of the Elections Division of the Texas Secretary of State Christina Adkins, and the election administrators of three counties: Llano, Williamson, and Bell. Andrea Wilson is the Llano County elections administrator.

The list of five plaintiffs includes one Llano County resident, Madelon Highsmith. Other plaintiffs are Laura Pressley, Robert Bagwell, Teresa Soll, and Thomas L. Korkmas. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division, and assigned to District Judge Robert Pitman. 

Pitman is also the assigned judge in the other three suits against the county: 

Little et al. v. Llano County et al. is a freedom of speech and civil rights lawsuit currently held up in appeals court. The date for a jury trial date came and went last October as everyone waits on a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans. Three of the 17 active judges heard arguments on June 7, 2023. The fifth circuit also has nine senior judges. 

Between Nov. 7, 2022, and Aug. 18, 2024, Llano County has paid Jonathan Mitchell of Mitchell Law LLC in Austin a total of $256,330.31 for defense in the Little vs. Llano County case. Of that, $229,970.25 was paid out of the general fund for professional services and $26,360.06 was paid out of the same fund for litigation expenses, according to the Llano County auditor’s response to a Public Information Request. 

No information was provided in the Mirelez or Baker suits. A subsequent PIR has been filed for that information.