How Many Missing Voters Is Too Many?
Earlier this summer Direct Action Texas looked into several of the March 1st Republican Primary races. Hill County’s election quickly garnered our attention.
We found that 19.29% of their official election results did NOT have voters to go along with the alleged votes. It is a basic principle that for every vote cast there must be one voter to match up with said vote. In the case of Hill County, they posted 9,038 votes having been cast, yet their official election file only had 7,518 voters marked as having voted, but it gets better. We then counted the number of signatures of voters who showed up to vote – on what is called the Combination Forms. This revealed only 7,295 voters! Where were the remaining voters? The county’s data also indicated one voter having voted 4 times and 8 voters having voted twice. How can this be? Just this week we ran a comparison of the Voter ID Numbers on the official voter file against the Voter ID Numbers listed on the combo forms – we found an additional 766 voters who show to have voted in the county’s file but do not show up on the combination forms.
On June 17th I called and asked the elections administrator about these discrepancies. She refused to acknowledge or answer the questions, so I sent my questions in writing. After a month of not hearing from Hill County, I learned that the County Elections Committee had met and the county staff along with their election vendor, ES&S, had publicly acknowledged the missing voters, yet no one knew where they were nor what to do about it. On August 12th Hill County’s election vendor, ES&S, released a press release stating “After the March 1st Primary Election, it was found that the election results released were incorrect.”
The lingering question is how did the Republican County Chair certify this election?
We figured out that the Absentee ballots had been counted three times and the early voting paper ballots were counted twice. So we can subtract those ballots. Even in doing that, the counts still do not add up.
But by how much?
Well that’s a great question and one we wish could be answered, but we simply cannot. For example, we have been given three different numbers for the absentee ballots – 473, 510, 570. Which is it? We have asked for the Applications for Ballot by Mail and the Carrier Envelopes, something we are entitled to review, yet the county is attempting to block our access to these records.
At this point, only the Attorney General’s office can figure this out.
Hill County has stopped responding to our Open Records Requests – in clear violation of state law. The Hill County Republican Party Chairman, Will Orr, is on a PR tour intentionally selling an erroneous narrative. For example – Will Orr would have you believe that the problems occurred with the TEAMS system. A system used by the Secretary of State. But he, and the other county officials, know this to NOT be the case. None of the data referenced came from TEAMS, rather directly from Hill County’s data. The county would have you believe the elections administrator is taking responsibility and has resigned. Not true. She was scheduled to retire. She is simply being used to deflect accountability.
The fact is, Mr. Orr canvassed (or certified) the election when 20% of the votes had no voters to correspond with the ballots. Did Mr. Orr perjure himself in doing so? How did Mr. Orr not notice a 2,000 vote discrepancy? It was his responsibility to do so.
Election integrity can be called into question for various reasons. In this case it would appear that incompetence, a void of basic math, and all around sloppy work are to blame. Does that make the fact that the published results are incorrect any easier to accept? There are several races which were determined by less than 100 votes, the math indicates there is a good possibility these were called for the wrong candidate, we simply cannot tell yet. This is a concern for all Texans.
While the AG’s office got off to a slow start, there are indications they are now actively engaged in this situation, we shall see. Maybe Hill County can look forward to concrete answers in the near future. We can only hope.
Meanwhile Hill County still has a county chair who certified this election.