A court-ordered election recount Thursday showed little difference from the April official count, according to a filing in Texas County Circuit Court. With the count settled, a judge ordered a new election Nov. 2 due to questions about administration of the election.
Election judges and observers arrived Thursday morning at the Texas County Administrative Center in Houston after a judge ordered a quick hand recount into an issue asking voters to create a Houston Rural Fire District. It narrowly lost earlier. The count was initially delayed because there was one less counter than required. Finally, one person was pulled from the basement of the Texas County Administrative Center, Treasurer-Collector Tammy Cantrell, so the count could begin.
The unofficial tally released the day after the election was 283-278. The official count issued the Friday after the election was 277-273. The outcome sets in motion a second part of Circuit Judge William Hinkle’s order that calls for a new election on Nov. 2 that will be paid by the county.
The recount was allowed under state statute due to it being less than 1 percent difference in the ballots cast.
In a lawsuit, plaintiffs Willie Adey and Carl Watson, Houston Rural Fire Association members, said some voters were eligible to vote, but didn’t receive ballots at their precinct, according to a May 5 lawsuit filed against the clerk. Crowley had announced on the Friday before the election that anyone who thought they were eligible should ask for a provisional ballot.
If approved, the association would have changed from a member-based organization to one supported by a property tax. The association said it was getting harder to operate within a dues structure that many didn’t ever pay.