When the unofficial results for the Killeen City Council election came in on Saturday night, incumbent Steve Harris looked up at the screen in council chambers to view the results. He found himself two votes short of securing his third consecutive term.
With the race being decided by such a small margin — 179 votes to 181 for challenger Michael Boyd — Harris vowed a recount.
On Monday Harris emailed the city his request to recount the votes and also asked that the city look into voting location issues with Precincts 404 and 412.
Harris said he had heard from several residents who tried to vote in District 4 but were told they were residents of District 3. Harris said a resident challenged that and was able to vote in District 4 during early voting. Issues with county maps not matching city maps were the culprit, according to Harris.
On the unofficial results sheet provided at City Hall on Election Day, three votes — one for Harris and two for Boyd — were listed from Precinct 404 in the District 4 race. The Precinct 404 polling site was located at Fire Station No. 7, which is in District 3.
A recount would require every electronic ballot to be printed out and manually counted before a committee, according to city spokesperson Hilary Shine. According to the Secretary of State’s website, a recount would not requalify voters, but simply recount the votes that came in.
In an emailed response to Harris’s request Monday, the city said, “The city is currently researching the reports of residents of District 4 voting in the correct district, specifically in Precinct 404.” It is unclear if that will be a part of the official recount, or a separate investigation.
Harris also asked the city to look into issues of improper signs at polling places. He included a picture of a handwritten sign that had the name of one candidate for each district at a polling place, not all the candidates. The sign did not disclose who paid for it, which is not legal.
The email from the city requested Harris file an official petition form by 5 p.m. on the second day after the votes are canvassed.
The Killeen City Council will discuss the schedule to canvass the election results at Tuesday’s workshop session. The current options are before or after the May 11 council meeting or on May 12 in a special meeting.
Harris will also need to submit a deposit to pay for the recount with his petition.
A recount will not be cheap. Harris would need to pay $100 per precinct, including the early voting votes. There are four precincts listed in District 4 at two polling locations, as well as votes from Precinct 404.
The Herald asked the city if Harris would need to pay per polling place or individual precinct, but Shine did not respond to that question by press time.
Harris would also be responsible for administrative fees, which include compensation for recount committee members, charges for using automatic tabulating equipment, a $15 fee for each recount supervisor, a $50 fee for office expenses, and the actual expenses incurred for reproducing printed ballots.
The Herald asked Shine for a ballpark estimate of how much those administrative fees would run; however, she did not provide an answer by press time.
Harris said in his Facebook Live on Election Night that he would create a Go-Fund-Me or some other type of fundraising to pay for the recount. Without a final dollar amount for the recount, Harris said he has not set that up yet.
“I’ll wait until I get the final tally of everything and decide what to do at that point in time,” Harris said by phone Monday.
If the recount changes the outcome of the vote, Harris could recoup the costs.
“I still believe, in the end, I am going to still be on the council,” Harris said. “We will see what happens. We will see what the Lord says.”
When asked to respond to the recount in his race, Michael Boyd said by text Monday, “I am confident in the election results and trust that poll workers carried out their duties with the utmost integrity. I look forward to serving the residents of District 4 and the broader community.”