The Texas Attorney General’s Office has ordered a public recount of Hill County’s March 2016 primary ballots to determine whether or not criminal wrongdoing occurred.
The ballots will be publicly re-counted at 10 a.m. Wednesday, November 9, in the district courtroom of the Hill County Courthouse. Sergeant Boone Caldwell of the Texas Attorney General’s Office requested the order.
The AG’s criminal investigation into Hill County’s voting irregularities was the result of a complaint filed by Aaron Harris of Direct Action Texas. According to county documents, Harris found nearly 1,800 fewer voters than votes cast in the election.
Numerous races up and down the ballot were won or lost within a 1,800 total vote margin, including a contentious Republican primary between State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) and conservative challenger Thomas McNutt.
When this enormous discrepancy between the numbers of voters and the county’s official election results was revealed to local officials, they were unable to provide a sufficient explanation.
Harris discovered numerous votes that were incorrectly counted or counted multiple times. A public statement by the county’s election vendor later stated that they believed early and absentee ballot totals were incorrectly counted more than once.
But those findings raised more questions than answers, as the alleged “explanation” still failed to account for the total discrepancy uncovered by Harris.
Although state law prohibits Wednesday’s recount from affecting the outcome of the election, Texans concerned about election-integrity are anxious for an explanation and accountability. The order states that the recount is being held for fact-finding purposes only to determine whether or not there is any evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
It’s unclear whether or not the public recount will either reveal what went wrong in Hill County or identify those responsible.