McLennan Co. commissioners approve results of Nov. 8 election, including results in disputed race
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - McLennan County commissioners on Wednesday approved the results of the Nov. 8 general election, including totals for the Precinct 2 commissioner’s contest that had been questioned because of procedural irregularities.
The McLennan County Ballot Board re-examined the mail-in ballots in the Precinct 2 race on Tuesday after Republican nominee D.L. Wilson and local party leaders disputed the set-up of the mail-in ballot signature verification committee, which was formed for the first time in a general election in McLennan County.
After a review of the mail-in ballot signatures and the acceptance of some proper ballots that arrived late, incumbent Commissioner Pat Chisolm-Millers actually increased her 239-vote election night victory by 12 votes, said McLennan County Elections Administrator Jared Goldsmith.
Wilson had asked the county to postpone the vote canvass until after the formation and operation of the mail-in ballot signature verification committee, which performed its duties with just one member from each party, could be reviewed. Wilson said he might consider seeking a recount if Chisolm-Miller’s margin of victory could be cut to 100 or less in the review.
Goldsmith said the mail-in ballot re-examination was done by three Republicans and three Democrats on the Ballot Board.
Wilson and McLennan County Republican Party chairman Brad Holland said the Election Code requires a minimum of five members on the signature verification committee, its meetings must be posted online and poll watchers must be allowed to view the process.
Goldsmith acknowledged that those procedures were not followed, but said the process has been corrected for future elections and the problems did not affect the result of any contests.
“What is done, is done,” Goldsmith said. “We’ve learned and we will make sure it is correct in the future to the law. There was no malicious intent, and I think going that extra mile proved that we processed the ballots correctly.”
Chisolm-Miller, who won election to her second term, commended Goldsmith, his staff and election workers for their dedication to the electoral process.
“They work tirelessly and honorably and I do not feel that they receive, at times, the appreciation that they deserve,” she said. “And to the voters of Precinct 2 who once again gave me their vote of confidence, I am grateful as well as humbled. I look forward to serving McLennan County another four years.”
Wilson did not return phone messages Wednesday.
According to the revised vote totals, Chisolm-Miller got 5,372 votes for 51.2 percent. Wilson received 5,121 votes for 48.8 percent. There were a total of 623 absentee ballots counted.
Goldsmith said “there were not any real anomalies” during the re-examination of the mail-in ballots.
The committee had not been appointed in this county before for a general election, and was formed by Goldsmith to give voters who had problems submitting their mail-in ballots an opportunity to be contacted in an effort to correct the problems and make sure their votes count.
In past elections, the Secretary of State has directed officials that if the numbers on the envelope and the ballot matched, there was a presumption that the signature was correct, Goldsmith said Wednesday.
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