Back in July, the Attorney General’s office opened a criminal investigation against Hill County after a complaint was filed by a private citizen when he noticed discrepancies in the number of voters that may have voted in the March primary election race for state representative.
The initial complaint was lodged when Aaron Harris filed a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request and upon receipt of the requested documents, noticed that the vote totals appeared to be off by as many as 1743 votes. The primary race in question was between incumbent Byron Cook and Thomas McNutt in which the original reported outcome was a little over 200 votes that separated the two at the end of the day with Cook emerging as the victor.
After filing his original complaint, Harris discovered that there were 18 races in Hill County that were decided by 1,743 votes or less. This vote discrepancy has brought into question all 18 races including the presidential primary.
Hill County, which is located south of the DFW metroplex, has been everything but cooperative with the release of information. The initial complaint by Harris was only filed after Hill County refused to answer his questions about the discrepancies that he had discovered and since, has stopped responding to information requests from Mr. Harris which is in clear violation of the law.
The investigation into the issue intensified yesterday when a District Judge issued a warrant to seize all of the election ballots and other items associated with the election. With the ballots being seized, the AG’s office will be able to further their investigation and discover the reason behind the existing discrepancies.
Normally, questions about election outcomes are addressed shortly after the election occurs. Once an election has taken place, parties involved have two days after the canvassing of the vote totals in which to request a recount of the ballots if there are questions about the validity of the reported outcome. If a recount is not requested, the ballots are then sealed to be kept until the time prescribed by the election code before being destroyed. In order to gain access to the seal original ballots, it takes a court order from a district judge which will only be filed after the filing judge is satisfied that enough evidence exist of irregularities with the election.
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