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Elections Administrator addresses recent election

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The Liberty County Elections Office wishes to thank those that took time out of their busy lives to fulfill their civic duty and vote. Elections are a long and tedious process from start to finish. We strive to ensure voters that the vote they cast is legal, fair, and accurate. This particular election is a close election for one of our races on the ballot in the Dayton area. At the time of this release, the race has a difference of 4 votes. I want to address a few items that are floating around the county regarding elections in Liberty County.

1) State law requires that we finish processing all mail-in and overseas ballots by Friday, March 4. Currently, we do not have any outstanding ballots that fall within the Pct. 4 Commissioner’s race boundaries. However, we still have to wait until this deadline passes before we can certify the election.
2) Under state law, an automatic recount of ballots is triggered only if the vote is a tie. In the absence of a tie, a candidate is allowed to request a recount. We fully encourage and support the candidate in Commissioner Pct. 4 to request a manual recount.
3) We do not believe that the country is “lost” when it comes to fair elections. At least not in Liberty County. Your election workers are your neighbors, church members, and community members. Each takes their job extremely seriously and has a passion for upholding the oath we took for each voter in this county.

What is the Elections Office? Under state law, the Liberty County Elections Office is legally set up as an independent department in Liberty County. It is isolated from county government so that the elections administrator and team are independent and free to ensure that the elections are fair, legal, and transparent. More importantly, no other elected official in Liberty County can sway elections or interfere with the operations of the Elections department by design to ensure that your elections are above reproach. The County Elections Committee is made up of the County Judge, County Clerk, Tax Assessor-Collector, Republican Party Chair, and the Democrat Party Chair. This committee hires the Elections Administrator with the approval of the Commissioners Court.
What is the Provisional Ballot Board? The Provisional ballot board is the legal entity made up of 2 Democrats, 2 Republicans, and a Republican Presiding Judge that decides whether every provisional and mail ballot in the county is accepted or rejected. Each provisional ballot cast is put inside an envelope at the polling location. Information regarding why the vote is provisional is put on the envelope by the workers at the election polling place and then is verified or corrected by staff at the Elections Office. The Early Voting Ballot Board only sees the envelope when deciding whether the ballot meets state law and can be accepted. An example of a provisional ballot that cannot be counted is if the voter is not registered in Liberty County. An example of a provisional ballot that can be counted is if the Elections database has the voter in the wrong precinct. The latter is caught and corrected during the process, and the vote is counted. A real-life example this election cycle was a voter in the north end of the county; the poll book (the database the election workers have on-site at polling locations) had the voter in the wrong precinct. The Elections Office looked up the voter, saw they were listed in CAD in the precinct where the voter said they lived, and the EVBB accepted the provisional ballot.
Redistricting is not part of the elections process: Redistricting in Liberty County is handled by the Liberty County Commissioners Court. The Court completed redistricting on November 23, 2021. As required by law, the court held two public hearings. Not one member of the public objected to the county’s proposed redistricting. The process was not hidden or secret.
State law requires that voting precincts cannot cross county commissioner lines. While redistricting is not part of the elections process, it does have an effect on elections. Some voting precincts changed due to the change in lines of the county commissioner lines. That does not make it an elections issue; it makes it a redistricting issue.