Midland County election records from over a century ago preserved

Thanks to the work of the election administrator and the approval of the commissioners’ court, Midland County election records dating back to 1886 are now preserved for the rest of time.
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 10:19 PM CDT
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - Thanks to the work of the election administrator and the approval of the commissioners’ court, Midland County election records dating back to 1886 are now preserved for the rest of time.

It’s not often that a person gets the chance to preserve history, but when the opportunity comes along it’s hard to pass up.

That’s what Midland County elections administrator Carolyn Graves thought when she got the chance to save the election records from more than a century ago.

Book lover, Carolyn Graves, says she loves collecting old books, so the preservation of election records started as a passion project for her.

Graves says her predecessor had rescued the records from a barn and then she took the next step to keep them safe forever.

“It’s interesting because you can look back and see when bush first ran for office. He lost that first time. You can go back and see and it’s really interesting that there was more than just the republican and democrat party. It was history,” said Graves.

The records are now kept in protective plastic seals which took a year to complete because the process required going through the returns page by page.

Graves even had an extra layer of protection by reinforcing the books with steel and locks because after all she’s trying to protect history.

“Dipping that pen into the ink to write every candidate’s name, how many votes in each of the precincts all by hand, and then having to wait for each page to dry before they could go to the next page. Just how long that process took just for us to have that record.”

Framed in Graves office hangs the original binding of the election records. She says the new books will stay in her office until she retires.

But that doesn’t mean she isn’t willing to share the history of Midland County’s elections with its residents.

“I’m hoping that people will come in and look. I didn’t have a place out in the office they could be shown, but my office door is always open. I welcome anybody that would love to come in.”

Graves tells me this project was so important to her because she wants people to remember that what came before us determines what we will be in the future.

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