Editor’s blog: New method of posting election results loses popular vote

Interested onlookers watch as vote totals are projected onto a screen at the downtown square gazebo Tuesday night.

By Kathryn Jones

Editor

The votes are in and the majority has spoken: Go back to the old-fashioned way of posting election tallies at the courthouse.

As residents stood for several hours in the evening chill Tuesday night and waited…and waited…and waited for votes to be posted, many voiced their opinions to the Glen Rose Current about the new system the county used for the first time to project tallies onto a white screen.

As they spotted the projector perched atop a metal ladder and aimed at the blank screen, folks walking by didn’t hesitate to give their opinions.

“I don’t like it.”

“What was wrong with the old way?”

“I like having traditions.”

“This is taking too long.”

“Where are the early results? Why aren’t they posting them first?”

Those were some of the comments heard throughout the night.

Ironically, Tuesday morning I had written a column lauding the old-fashioned tradition of having the Republican and Democratic Party chairpersons climb up a ladder and use a marker to post the results by hand. It took a while and sometimes the writing wasn’t even and on a few occasions the wrong information got posted, but the process made elections feel personal and like every vote not only was counted by a machine, but that it mattered.

When I found out about the change in the way the county planned to post the election results, I had to revise my column, of course.

Word filtered around the crowd gathered in front of the historic courthouse by the gazebo that early voting totals weren’t going to be posted separately, as has been done in the past. The final results were going to be posted at once. That prompted more grousing.

Then shortly after 9 p.m., the early results suddenly appeared on the screen. Confused onlookers tried to figure out what they were seeing.

I walked over to the Somervell County Annex to find out what was going on. Mark Woolverton, the county’s IT director, was heading out the door with a thumb drive  in his hand to plug into the projector with the final results.

He apologized for putting up the “wrong” report. Gee, why not post the early results first as has been done in the past? Why wait so long? I had planned to cover the early vote posting live. The early voting results often are a good indicator of an election’s outcome, especially this year when a record number of voters cast ballots early. Instead, there wasn’t anything to cover except a lot of standing around.

Glen Rose City Councilman Dennis Moore summed up the general feeling with his post on the Current’s Facebook page: “Go back to the board.  We need to keep some traditions.”

You can weigh in here with your opinions or on our Facebook page. Let your voice be heard. Your vote on this counts – and it matters.

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