Hill County Recount
Earlier this week in Hill County, State District Court Judge Lee Harris ordered a public recount at the request of investigators from the Attorney General’s office. It took place this past Wednesday, November 9th, just a day after many Texans went to the polls to cast their ballot for President. The recount is part of an ongoing investigation into potential criminal activity during the March 2016 Primary Election in Hill County.
Judge Harris called the court to order shortly after 10:00am in the District Courtroom on the second floor of the Hill County courthouse. The judge prohibited photographs, videos, and audio recordings by the public and media. He did, however, allow the Office of the Attorney General to record the proceedings for the purposes of the investigation and a court reporter was present.
Several of the interested parties were in attendance. State Rep. Byron Cook sent an attorney to watch the recount on his behalf. His March Primary race was won by a narrow margin of 225 votes against local businessman Thomas McNutt, who was also present.
Curiously, GOP County Chairman Will Orr, who may have knowingly certified false results, was not present. RPT Attorney, Eric Opiela, represented the Republican party instead. Hill County District Clerk Angela Orr, wife of Chairman Will Orr, was present in the courtroom. The Democrat Party Chair, Thom Hanson represented his party.
Also In attendance were county election officials who were subpoenaed, including former elections administrator Patsy Damschen. (Damschen resigned after Direct Action Texas brought to light the 1,700 vote discrepancy.) Also subpoenaed was a representative of ES&S, the county’s election software vendor, to physically run the recount.
At least seven investigators from the Attorney General’s office were there, sorting ballots by hand, making copies of related materials, and questioning Hill County Election officials.
This sort of criminal investigation is unprecedented and should interest all who hope to keep the election process transparent and open to ensure integrity in our elections is not compromised.
As expected, because it’s a criminal investigation, no announcements or counts were reported by the Office of the Attorney General.
It is important to note that this was a criminal investigation recount – not an election recount. This all comes as a result of the complaint filed by DAT back in July.
Direct Action Texas will bring you the latest on this investigation as they become available. Stay tuned.