Midland ISD Bond Update

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The Midland ISD school bond election has had a dizzying number of missteps and information false starts since November. This has lead to quite a bit of confusion.

So, where are we now?

The simple, somewhat unfulfilling answer is, we’re getting closer to the definitive case against the handling of this election but are still in process.

Unease is understandable. For one, there’s a lot of money at stake but more importantly, there needs to be trust in the process.

Election Administrator Deborah Land and the MISD school board have shown time and again throughout that rushing and selective transparency don’t instill trust or lead to defendable results.

Data from the recount was delayed in being released last week after Land ran out of ink during a printing session she publicly requested. Now that the requisite ink has been acquired and data finally printed, comparisons can be made and a summation of the discrepancies compiled.

Based on what we already know, a case against not only the election but the individuals overseeing its execution is coming. And, until changes are made, Midland County elections will not enjoy the levels of trust they need and deserve.

Looking at initial data, Midland voters were disenfranchised and enough of them to throw the final result (passage of the bond) into a clear contest.

The final number is still uncertain but this Thursday the number of voters denied a vote may swell to 819. Yesterday, the county announced it would be opening the ballot boxes and counting the ballots. They could potentially find misplaced tally sheets and/or ballots not counted in the recount.*

News of this latest development came two days after it was reported in the MRT that Land was confident in the election day count and that the recount was wrong. Land’s statement accomplished two things. First, it undermined the veracity of the recount. Second, it prepares everyone for the possible revelation of 819 ballots.

Regardless of what is or is not found on Thursday, the election has been destroyed by slapdash administration, is fundamentally flawed and will need to be voided.

This will upset school district administrators and board members who have already planted a dangerous flag. Rushing to canvas what by their own admission was a faulty recount is a bad look for what was a contentious bond measure from the start.

State law allowed for the vote to be certified at the earliest, 72 hours after the results were finalized but the board could have waited to get the numbers right before moving forward. Ironically, it might be this show of greed that bites the board hardest. 

Below is a timeline of key events. It will be updated as more events of note occur or are discovered.

Timeline of events

November 5, 2019: Election day, Technical issues delay results, throw count into question, the bond was said to have passed but mail-in-ballots weren’t counted – Result: failed by 31 votes

November 12, 2019: Final results are tallied, Result: failed by 25 votes

November 18, 2019: We Choose Our Future petitions for a recount

November 20, 2019: Recount plans finalized

November 23, 2019: Recount completed, 820 Ballots are missing from the original count – Result: passed by 11 votes

November 26, 2019: MISD board certifies the faulty result as soon as possible after the election, Better Bond partners with Direct Action Texas to investigate election administration

December 2, 2019: One missing ballot discovered, Land runs out of ink during recount printing

December 7, 2019: Land announces recount was inaccurate

*Updated for clarity.

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