Two Counties Disenfranchised in GOP Judicial Race
The 7th Court of Appeals serves 46 counties and this year Chief Justice and Place 4 were on the GOP Primary ballot for all but two of them. Voters in Cochran County and Collingsworth County were denied the right to vote in these races because they were left off the ballot.
Civil Rights Violated
The Chief Justice race was uncontested, but the race for Place 4 was decided by only 319 votes. Challenger Steven Denny received 46,002 votes to the incumbent Larry Doss’s 45,683 votes. Cochran County had a 26% turnout with 458 casting a ballot. Collingsworth County had a turnout of 38% with 723 voters. These are small counties, but either could have flipped the election. However, these voters were not given the opportunity to vote. The voices of 1181 citizens were silenced, and their civil rights were violated.
How Did This Happen?
There are multiple layers of checks and balances built into the system. This mistake could have and should have been caught by the Secretary of State (SoS), the county’s Republican Party, the county’s Elections Department, the candidates, or the voters.
The SoS website lists both Cochran and Collingsworth as being a part of the district on the results page of their website. The zero values across the board show both counties failing to report results.
It remains unclear as to whether or not the County Republican Party submitted filing paperwork with these races listed. Cochran County posted a sample ballot on their website that was lacking the two contests. Collingsworth County has a blank page on their Elections website. It appears the mistake took place at the county level.
As far as the candidates, they had 46 counties to check and clearly these two were missed. It is unknown at this time if Doss will choose to contest the election. Steven Denney told Texas Scorecard’s Thomas Warren that, “the county clerks put out the sample ballots for the purpose of inspection. No voters or candidates contested those ballots. That’s your remedy.”
Adding Insult to Injury
Is it acceptable to deny the rights of voters if they don’t complain? How many have to rise up to restore those rights? The Cochran County Republican Party has already certified the election. The Collingsworth County Republican Party was unavailable for confirmation. How can any official knowingly certify an election where voters were disenfranchised? Unfortunately, the Election Code does not stop them from doing so, in fact, the SoS interpretation of the Code mandates that certification. This practice must be changed. Texas cannot continue to knowingly certify elections with outcomes that are inaccurate. It is a violation of the Constitutional rights of voters. Texas voters should resurrect the cry of “No Taxation Without Representation” to the Secretary of State.
Direct Action Texas will continue to follow this story. If you voted in the Cochran County or Collingsworth County Republican Primary and feel your civil rights have been violated, please call our hotline or send us an email.