County recount creates more questions

Posted at 7:55 PM, Mar 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-09 20:55:59-05

McLennan County Election's vote recount affirmed incumbent Kelly Snell as the winner of the County Commissioner for the first precinct but revealed at least a hundred voters were excluded from the vote.

On election night Commissioner Kelly Snell won with 3,069 to Priest’s 3,040 votes, today’s recount had Snell winning with 3,059 votes and Priest with 3,034 votes.

The recount uncovered not only a discrepancy in voting totals but, highlighted the Election Day errors. 150 people eligible to vote for commissioner were excluded and 16 people who were not eligible, voted in the election.

Citing the inaccuracies, Joseph Nixon, legal representation for Cory Priest, says the human error could have impacted the race.

"The law anticipates this error; human error the margin of victory is sufficient that it overcomes this. In this case human error overcame the only remedy in another election." Nixon said.

The recount process tallied votes submitted electronically as well as mail-in ballots. Election officials had to restart the count after an instructional mix-up omitted several voters.

Challenger Cory Priest sued for the recount after losing the Republican Primary Election by a margin of 29 votes. After today’s results, Priest enthusiastically supports a new election and called for support from his opposition.

"It would be helpful if Commissioner Snell would stand with our decision to ask for a new election because the votes are compromised. Anyway you cut it the votes are compromised." Priest said.

While Snell acknowledged there was some blunders, he isn’t sure that the best solution is a new election.

 “My question is if we do another election are we going to throw out 5800 peoples wishes? We do it again, a runoff we might not be as lucky to get 2000 voters again.” Snell said

If another lawsuit is filed, the court can decide to call in those who were supposed to vote and ask them to cast their ballots. Another option is for the court to decide that clerical error disqualifies the results.

Priest expects to file his second lawsuit before the weekend.