Alleged irregularities, calls for recounts, in South Texas local races

Two candidates who narrowly lost primary races in Starr County, Texas, earlier this week have alleged that irregularities in early and absentee voting may have cost them the race, according to a story in the McAllen, Texas, Monitor. One of these candidates (David Porras) lost by 55 votes, while the other (Dave “Chachi” Jones) lost by 300 votes, of the nearly 6,900 votes cast in Tuesday’s primary.

Here are the allegations that were reported on in this story.

Porras and Jones had campaigned together for their respective races, as had Maldonado and Garcia. They won based on the number of ballots cast at polling stations in early voting and on Election Day but garnered less than half the number of mail-in ballots Maldonado and Garcia received.

Jones, who works as a private investigator for a bail-bond service, said he was suspicious because he had helped more than 600 people — most of them elderly — request mail-in ballots but the elections department listed just 253 of those ballots in its official tally.

“I know for a fact that I assisted more than 253 people,” he said. “The numbers that I have and the numbers they counted don’t match.”

Interestingly, these losing candidates don’t seem to think that the local recount will resolve the election in their favor:

The logistics of the recount are yet to be determined. Both Porras and Jones said they didn’t expect the recount to vindicate them but had asked for it because it as a precursor to challenging the entire election with the Texas Attorney General’s office — their likely next step, they said.

This goes back to something that Thad wrote about on March 4th; he is running a project that is going to collect and analyze information from every state’s election code about their rules and regulations for ballot counting and recounting. I do have a volume on my desk that is about three inches thick, that has the entire body of Texas election law in it, and it will be exciting when Thad’s project is complete and we will have a more analytic understanding of of these aspects of state election code vary across the states, and how the count/recount procedures may be related to measures of the performance of a state’s election system.