County expects hospital district opponents to request recount

By Kathryn Jones

Editor

(This story  has been updated to reflect that the two provisional votes cast in the election are not being counted because the voters’ addresses could not be verified.)

As of Monday evening, the creation of a Somervell County Hospital District had passed in Saturday’s special election — by just two votes.

The vote total after Saturday’s election was 740 in favor of the hospital district and 738 against. See the vote totals below, right:

May 11 Election

May 11 Election

However, two people voted provisionally, meaning that they were not on the voter registration rolls when they showed up at their precincts to cast ballots and their registrations could not be verified.

The provisional votes are not included in the vote totals, which are scheduled to be canvassed by county commissioners next Monday.

Cathy Thomas, county elections administrator and voter registrar, said this evening that two voters showed up Saturday and told precinct officials they had changed their driver’s license addresses online on the Texas Department of Public Safety website. Their changes of address, however, did not show up on voter registration rolls, which “does happen all the time,” Thomas said.

There also was some confusion about whether the Texas Secretary of State’s office would automatically receive voter registration address changes from the DPS or whether the person making the changes had to mail in a request to change voter registration addresses.

When people go to the DPS website to file an address change online, the form includes a box to check if the person changing an address also wants to register to vote. However, it does not specify that by checking the box, the voter registration would be changed as well.

As of Monday evening, however, the paper trail documenting the address changes wasn’t available, Thomas said.

Because they were provisional votes, those ballots weren’t tallied, meaning that it’s not known whether they are for or against the hospital district.

The DPS told Thomas that it could not track whether the drivers were registered to vote in Somervell County because the drivers attempted to register online. Without verification, those votes thus cannot be counted, Thomas said.

“We couldn’t get any paperwork to prove behind a shadow of a doubt” that the two individuals who voted on Saturday are registered to vote in Somervell County, Thomas said.

Meanwhile, opponents of the hospital district have been making noises that they may petition for a recount, Thomas said.

According to the Texas Secretary of State’s office, in an election on a measure such as a hospital district, the “campaign treasurer of a special-purpose political committee that was involved in the election” may petition for a recount,  “or any 25 or more persons, acting jointly, who were eligible to vote in the election.”

“We’re getting the paperwork ready” because some people have made comments to that they will file a petition to request a recount, Thomas added.

“I’m sure it’s not over,” she said.

To read more about recount procedures, see this link:

http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/laws/recounts.shtml

One Response to County expects hospital district opponents to request recount

  1. Suzanne Gentling Reply

    May 13, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Thanks for the update, Kathryn. I happened to see a segment on WFAA this evening about poor voter turnout. They mentioned several smaller communities around the Metroplex whose elections were decided on a difference of 2-4 votes.

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