MIDLAND, Texas (Big 2/ Fox 24)- On Election Night November 2019, early results show the $569-million Midland I.S.D. School Bond passes by a slim margin.
A week later, unofficial results reveal the bond actually fails.
A recount is called by the Political Action Committee, “We Choose Our Future”. Those results show the bond passes.
But, the recount reveals an 800 vote discrepancy.
Despite that- the bond is canvassed a few days later.
“It is just going to come down to the verification of the system and the review of the recount process,” said Midland County Elections Administrator, Deborah Land.
The Texas Secretary of State’s Office leaving it up to local officials to investigate.
In a statement to Big 2 News the Office saying,
“The Office of the Texas Secretary of State is very much aware of the situation, and we have been in repeated and extensive contact with local officials in order to provide guidance and input as they seek to resolve this issue.”
“What we are anticipating, probably today or tomorrow, seeking a court order to open the ballot boxes,” said Midland County Attorney, Russell Malm.
Opening the ballot boxes would allow Officials to recount the number of ballots to see why there’s a discrepancy in vote totals.
“There are no missing ballots- I think it’s going to come down to all of the number of ballots that they are going to find in each ballot box when we count them is going to be the same number of ballots that we showed on election night,” said Land.
Land believes the results were accurate on November 12th. Those results showed the bond failed.
Land believes her machines were accurate and the recount numbers are wrong. “Either inadvertently or misadding but that’s a big misadd,” said Land.
School Board President, Rick Davis disagrees. “Either problems with the machines, or with the operators of those machines, and it’s caused this discrepancy,” said Davis. He believes the recount is accurate.
Now, let’s turn to the investigation…
“The first thing the Elections Office did- was to compare the numbers from Election Night with documents they have,” said Malm.
Those documents being combination cards that document every voter.
“Then the next step was- I believe we did this two days ago- was to open each of the voting machines. To see if there were any ballots in there,” said Malm.
One loose ballot was found…
“So the next step the Secretary of State said to do was take the tally sheets from the recount. Go through those to see if we could find any indication of voting centers that were not being counted,” said Malm.
The Office of the Secretary of State had officials copy those tally sheets.
“Then the Elections Office started going through the process of going through the tally sheets to see if they could find any signs of something amiss,” said Malm.
“Then the next step is to get the court order from a District Judge to open the ballot boxes and get those ballot totals. And where it goes from there- we will have to see what the results are when that happens,” said Land.
“So basically the Elections Office has been doing something all day, everyday trying to get to the bottom of it.,” said Malm.
“Knowing that there is a digital image of every ballot- I think is a thing that gives me a lot of confidence,” said Malm.
“I’m not sure, with everything that’s gone on, I’m not 100% positive that we have a win or a loss in the public’s eyes,” said Brian Quinonez, a concerned voter.