Midland County Elections Officials to resume recount Monday morning
The opening of the ballot boxes and the recounting of ballots has been suspended until 8 a.m. on Monday following a court order by Judge David W. Lindemood.
The court order will also allow the elections office to open the 'new' ballot box that was found on Thursday afternoon to determine if the box contains ballots from the November election. If it contains ballots from that election those ballots will be added to the recount. If not, the ballot box will be resealed.
The court order also will allow the elections office to access digital copies of the ballots from the election to compare to the physical ballots in the boxes.
You can read the full court order
The Special Purpose Action Committees FOR and AGAINST the bond measure, We Choose Our Future and Better Bond for Midland released statements on Thursday to their Facebook page.
We Choose Our Future:
" We Choose Our Future has been closely monitoring the county's investigation into the 820 vote discrepancy between the county's reported election results and the final results of the school bond recount. Today the county counted the ballots contained in the two ballot boxes from the early voting annex and confirmed the number of ballots counted in the recount for those boxes. This means there is still no explanation for the 820 vote discrepancy. We will continue to work independently as well as offer our assistance to help identify the source of this discrepancy. The accuracy and integrity of this election process is of utmost importance."
Better Bond For Midland:
"Today at 5pm we were advised by our legal counsel that there is ample evidence for contesting election. We are now moving full speed to bringing this side show to a halt. There is no excuse for the lack of competency with this election from our county elections administrator. Period. We let all parties know at the elections office. There were no closed door sessions. We even provided the tally sheets of the recount to the media. Transparency should be a verb not a noun."
UPDATE: The saga of the Midland bond election continues.
Thursday, the elections officials reopened ballot boxes, but the vote discrepancy only seems to be growing.
This week’s ballot recount found 840 fewer ballots than the original tally, that’s 20 fewer than the first discrepancy that made waves after the recount.
Election officials couldn’t explain how they yet again arrived at a new count when they manually tallied the early voting ballots.
However, because the two manual counts were close, the suspects the counting error came from the tabulating machine.
“So, at least we have now determined that at least there’s no indication from this that there was a problem with the recount,” County Attorney Russell Malm said. “This seems to confirm the recount was accurate and there was a problem somewhere else. So, now the process is to start to find what that was.”
The county attorney said the next step is to get a court order to open the other 13 ballot boxes and count them by hand as well with a large team of 24 volunteers.
He hopes to that count will be finished on Monday.
The Midland County Elections Office will be opening up the ballot boxes from the November elections to discover the cause of a ballot discrepancy that had more than 800 votes missing for a tightly contested Midland ISD bond election.
The recount will be held at the Midland County Annex starting at 9 a.m.
Volunteers will be opening the ballot boxes and counting 100 ballots at a time before then feeding them through a machine to see if the number of votes match the number from the night of the election or the first recount.