In Midland, an ongoing saga surrounding the changing results of a large school bond election—with hundreds of votes allegedly unreconcilable in a recent recount—has left the divided constituency questioning what happened.
At issue is a $569 million bond ($880 million with interest) proposed by Midland Independent School District that split voters in half in the November 5 election. The results have since bounced back and forth between the measure passing or failing by narrow margins.
On election night, the bond was declared as having narrowly passed in the unofficial results. About a week later, Midlanders then learned the measure had never been ahead in the unofficial results, rather the opposition margin had been ahead all along by some 30 votes. The elections office failed to correct the last reports. After the final counting of provisional and other remaining ballots, the official results were declared, with the bond measure failing by 25 votes. But the issue still wasn’t over.
The special political action committee (SPAC) formed to support the bond, Yes for Midland Kids, filed for a recount. The process started Friday morning and lasted until 4:00 a.m. Saturday.
Saturday morning, the results of the recount were announced with the finding that the bond has now passed by 11 votes, once again reversing the results of the election.
The recount found that 11,400 people had voted against the bond, while 11,411 voted for it, giving a grand total of 22,811 voters having participated in the election.
While the school superintendent and bond supporters are already celebrating this announcement, opponents of the bond who were involved in the recounting process have pointed out the vote totals from the recount do not match the electronically recorded certified vote totals from election night, which showed 23,631 voters having participated in the election.
In short, the recount found 820 fewer votes in the race than the number previously certified by the election’s office, and yet with the unreconciled difference in voters, officials are declaring the bond as now passing by 11 votes, in spite of the missing votes.
Comments erupted across social media. Brandon Hodges, a local businessman who heads the SPAC formed in opposition to the bond, commented on the discrepancies, saying the recount shows “over 800 votes cannot be reconciled.”
Many other comments have ranged from citizens questioning whether their vote was counted, and what can be done to investigate the shortfall in votes.
It is unclear at this point whether there are any further avenues for opponents of the bond to take in regard to challenging the latest results. Some of those who were involved in opposing the bond during the election have suggested they will look into potential legal recourse, such as filing suit. Otherwise, the final recount results showing the massive bond’s narrow passing margin will remain in place alongside the unresolved unease.