Emergency Ballots in Hardin Voting Box

LIBERTY, June 25, 2012 – The Texas Prison System keeps growing and growing now housing approximately 160,000 inmates according to sources. Those inmates are largely there because they just don’t understand that they have to follow the law. This misunderstanding among the general population seems to be prevalent in today’s population and you find it everywhere you look.

In reporting the results of the recount of the Constable’s Race in Hardin Ken Coleman stated that because the outcome of the recount only changed the voting results reported on election night by one vote and it didn’t have any impact on the candidates involved in the recount it just proves what a great job County Clerk Paulette Williams is doing for us.

We wondered about this claim for that reason as well as i-dineout.com had received inconsistent reports concerning the number of, “Emergency Ballots,” sent to the Hardin by County Clerk Willams and Ken Coleman because they ran out of ballots. We heard on Election Night that there were 50 to 75 Emergency Ballots and after the recount we heard there were 90 “Emergency Ballots,” so we started looking into the situation.

We sent an Open Records Request of County Clerk Paulette Williams. Click HERE to see the open records request.

All ballots are numbered because it is required by law because unless ballots are consecutively numbered in a specific known range of numbers there is no way to account for them, prove the accurate results of the election and prove there was no possibility of voter fraud having occurred.

This would be a concern in the reporting the results of the primary on Election Night but it’s even more important because these, “Emergency Ballots,” became part of a Recount of votes in the Constable’s Race in Hardin.

See related story… Some Races Decided, Some in Run Offs

Incumbent Candidate Danny Frankum requested a recount in his race because he received about 49.4% of all votes in a three-man race and with just a few more votes he would avoid a run-off election. Candidate Frankum paid for the recount and the votes were recounted.

See related story…. Votes Recounted in Constable Pct. 3 Race

In our Open Records Request i-dineout.com asked County Clerk Paulette Willams for the following information. The date on the Open Records Request of June 10, 2010 is a typographical error. It should be 2012.

Please provide a list of all ballot numbers on ballots identified by you as
“Emergency Ballots,” created by photo copying sample ballots by your office
that were sent to the Hardin Box because they ran out of regular paper
ballots. Specifically identify which ballot numbers were used and which ballot
numbers were left over and not used as well as identifying the total number of
ballots used and the total number of ballots not used.

In an e-mail response to our Open Records Request County Clerk Paulette Williams stated, “We delivered 75 emergency ballots to the Hardin precinct at about 6:45 p.m. Out of the 75 ballots delivered, 35 were voted… I do not know if the judge numbered the ballots or if he was even aware that he needed to number them.”

According to Attorney Lee Chambers, the Election Judge in the Hardin Box was Mr. Ken Jones.

Chapter 52, of State Law, Ballot Form, Content, and Preparation deals specifically how ballots must be numbered, specifically how they are to be numbered and penalties for altering the number on a ballot.

This Chapter states, “Sec. 52.062. NUMBERING OF BALLOTS. The ballots prepared by each authority responsible for having the official ballot prepared shall be numbered consecutively beginning with the number "1."
Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.

This Chapter further states, Sec. 52.0063. UNLAWFUL PREPARATION OF BALLOTS. (a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly prepares or causes to be prepared new ballots to make a correction on the ballot without complying with Section 52.0061 or 52.0062, as applicable.

(b) Except as authorized by Section 52.006, a person commits an offense if the person knowingly prepares or causes to be prepared for an election any ballot that contains the same number as a ballot that has been prepared for the election.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

Furthermore Paulette Williams states as a response to our open records request, “It is the election judge's duty to number and sign the emergency ballots. I do not know if the judge numbered the ballots or if he was even aware that he needed to number them. At this time the ballots have been resealed after the recount so I will have to find them in our storage vault.”

Williams’ points the finger for numbering the, “Emergency Ballots,” that she created and sent to the Hardin Box at the Election Judge in Hardin and states that it was his responsibility to number the Ballots.

Chapter 52 of the Election Code states,

Sec. 52.002. AUTHORITY PREPARING BALLOT. Except as otherwise provided by law, the following authority shall have the official ballot prepared:
(1) for an election ordered by the governor or a county authority, the county clerk;
(2) for a primary election, the county chair of the political party holding the primary;
(3) for an election ordered by a city authority, the city secretary; and
(4) for an election ordered by an authority of a political subdivision other than a county or city, the secretary of the subdivision's governing body or, if the governing body has no secretary, the governing body's presiding officer.

For this primary election Chairman Ken Coleman contracted with the County Clerks to handle the Primary Election.

So just whose responsibility is it to number the ballots?

Chapter 52 of the Election Code states, Sec. 52.001. OFFICIAL BALLOT.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), the vote in an election is by official ballot.
(b) If an official ballot is unavailable at a polling place, the presiding election judge shall provide a ballot designed in accordance with this chapter.
Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.

The Election Judge at the Hardin Box did NOT create any ballots. The, “Emergency Ballots,” were created by the County Clerk’s Office and County Clerk Paulette Williams stated, “ We delivered 75 emergency ballots to the Hardin precinct at about 6:45 p.m.

Whoever creates a Ballot of any kind is required to number them by law.
Sec. 52.002. AUTHORITY PREPARING BALLOT. Except as otherwise provided by law, the following authority shall have the official ballot prepared:
(1) for an election ordered by the governor or a county authority, the county clerk;
(2) for a primary election, the county chair of the political party holding the primary;

It was the County Clerk who should have numbered the Emergency Ballots and was required to by State Law because it was County Clerk Paulette Williams who created them by Photocopying Sample Ballots when she ran out of printed Ballots for the Primary Election at the Hardin Box. The County Clerk prepared the ballots and should have numbered them according to law, yet she blames the Election Judge for not numbering them when she stated, “It is the election judge's duty to number and sign the emergency ballots. I do not know if the judge numbered the ballots or if he was even aware that he needed to number them.“

It has been 11 businesses days since i-dineout.com submitted our open records request asking for the ballot numbers on the Emergency Ballots. Today County Clerk Paulette Williams responded in an e-mail, “The judge did not realize he needed to number the ballots. It was very hectic and he was not aware of the requirement. If anyone is to blame for that it would be me as I conducted the training of our judges.”

Candidates Danny Frankum, Darrell Elliot and Tommy Koen are effected by this in that the exact outcome of the election can never be proven because there is no way to prove there was not some type of voter fraud that occurred in this election.

Furthermore Candidate Frankum paid for a recount of the vote in the election whose results cannot be proven no matter how many times the ballots are recounted.

Furthermore the voters who voted in this Constable’s race are affected for the same reasons.

 

 

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