Some congratulations are in order for a group of local activists who managed to gain ground towards improving accountability from their county government after yesterday’s commissioners court meeting.
Texas Scorecard reported previously some of the elections irregularities that occurred in the November 2016 election in Hays County – where not only did an entire mobile ballot box go missing containing over 1,800 votes, but it was also discovered that voters were given incorrect ballots. These startling revelations have compelled concerned citizens to call for accountability in the election process as well as an investigation into what, exactly, went wrong in November.
At yesterday’s meeting, dozens of concerned citizens gathered at the Hays County Commissioners Court to voice their concerns and demand answers. To address these concerns, the court discussed the imminent assembly of a Citizen’s Advisory Panel [for Elections?]. County Judge Bert Cobb and Tax Assessor-Collector LuAnne Caraway suggested opening up the application process for the panel to include some of the regular citizens in the room.
That idea was received positively. Naturally, including folks who are professionally divorced from government dealings improves accountability – especially in regards to something as imperative as elections. On the contrary, Elections Administrator Jennifer Anderson expressed that she envisioned this panel would consist primarily of folks chosen by local government – a myopic approach that would do little to restore the citizens’ trust in their local government or the county’s credibility.
The more that concerned citizens increase the pressure on their local government to restore transparency and damaged credibility, the more local officials will find themselves forced to act in citizens’ interests. While yesterday represents a victory for those activists, this merely validates the certainty that they need to keep the pressure on.