To the Editor:
Last week, the (Opinion) editor of this paper in essence called me a sore loser for submitting a lawsuit disputing the results of the Killeen City Council election. My response is that the fact Bell County elections office can’t provide voter tally information that is consistent and adds up is proof-positive that this lawsuit was necessary not just for my own election but to understand that we have to make improvements in our vote count processes.
To this day, Bell County Elections still cannot provide a list of voters which equals the numbers of votes counted. The list of voters, provided by Bell County Elections to me on May 17 totals 17,983. The problem with that is that Bell County said there were 19,670 votes cast. But then it later said there were 19,708 votes in its official election reconciliation sheet. Also concerning is that the final number of mail-in ballots totals 3,045, but only 1,731 were recorded as voters on the Reconciliation sheet that shows 19,724 voters before the rejected mail and 16 provisional ballots and 19,708 counted … except that math is incorrect and that should add to 19,282.
In Killeen specifically, the canvassed ballots (the number of ballots counted) is 398 ballots more than the number of voters that the County said voted. (4,072 counted ballots and 3,674 voters).
This should not be this hard to count who cast a vote. But it has been this hard and instead of me collecting simple summary sheets of consistent data, I have opened a can of worms that needs to be resolved so that every voter in Bell County has absolute faith and confidence that proper, legal votes were cast, then counted in a way that adds up each and every time. Yes — we do have a training problem it seems and we should all hope that is the only reason for the tally discrepancies.
I admit that when I started this process it was about my election and my belief that several small issues could have caused a different outcome. I love Killeen and serving our citizens in an official capacity and being able to speak on behalf of our residents. I have no ill feelings about Mr. Alvarez. At this point, we are both caught up in something bigger than us.
I would love to finish the analysis and have the results show that everything is correct and proper. If that happens, I will drop the contest and congratulate Mr. Alvarez personally and publicly. Unfortunately that is not the case based on evidence I currently have. This is no longer just about the Killeen City Council election. This is now about making sure all of our elections are run in a fair and proper manner. It might mean training, a new vendor for the County, or other changes. We ALL deserve to know our votes are counting the way we cast them and that we have safeguards to protect our election. That is why I can’t stop now.
Regardless, I am still here to support our community and speak for those without a platform to be heard.