By Michelle Guffey

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON A lawsuit filed in March 2005 by two Stillhouse residents against Bell County contesting a Stillhouse incorporation election was dismissed Monday.

The lawsuit was filed by Henry and Janine Bunke representing the Stillhouse Civic Coalition. The group championed incorporation to avoid the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Belton and contested the failed Feb. 5, 2005, Stillhouse election to incorporate.

The election to incorporate Stillhouse failed 124 votes to 116.

The suit was filed to order a new election, claiming that a number of eligible voters had been identified who were denied the right to vote by the county in addition to a larger number of ineligible voters who were allowed to vote.

The lawsuit claimed that "had the pool of potential voters been screened by county officials in accordance with state law," the incorporation measure would have passed by a margin of eight votes, rather than failing by 14 votes.

The lawsuit was dismissed and the order of nonsuit was signed by Judge Paul Davis, the Austin senior district judge assigned to the case.

The order dismisses the case with prejudice to refiling, meaning the plaintiffs cannot refile the suit.

The order "gives finalization to the determination of the court," County Judge Jon Burrows said. "It ends litigation."

The dismissal effectively ends the matter and finalizes the election results, Burrows stated in a news release.

Contact Michelle Guffey at

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