December 03, 2008
That other recount

In addition to HD105, there was a recount in the HD11 race in East Texas, where incumbent Democrat Rep. Chuck Hopson survived by 103 votes. That recount was concluded yesterday, but it seems to have raised more questions than it answered.

A vote recount requested by his opponent, Brian K. Walker (R-Tatum) was held Monday and Tuesday in the four counties comprising District 11. Rep. Hopson (D-Jacksonville) gained nine votes in the recount, excluding Cherokee County.

The vote recount in Cherokee County returned odd numbers that officials are at a loss to explain. Mr. Hopson lost 29 votes and Mr. Walker lost 121 votes.

And in a race that separated the two candidates by just 103 votes, the Cherokee County margin of error is significant.

Cherokee County Clerk Laverne Lusk, who was contacted at home at press deadline Tuesday, said that Mr. Walker lost 121 votes, and that Mr. Hopson lost 29.

"We are shocked that there were this many votes different," said Mrs. Lusk. "I don't know if this is from early voting or precinct voting. I won't know until we look at the reports from election night.

"Tomorrow, we will go over the numbers and see where it came from."

The recount in Cherokee County was overseen by a representative of the Secretary of State's office. Mrs. Lusk said the SOS representative agreed with the final number on the recount.

The recount process concluded after 5 p.m. Tuesday in Cherokee County was the only one which required two days. It is also the only county that returned results significantly different from the first count on election night.

Before the vote recount is official, it must be certified by county judges in Cherokee, Rusk, Houston and Panola counties and canvassed by Gov. Rick Perry.

The process could be concluded by the end of the week.


Mr. Walker carried Panola and Rusk counties during the General Election. In the Monday recount in Panola County, Mr. Walker's vote tally remained unchanged. Rep. Hopson's total was one ballot less than the machine count had originally indicated.

"Susan Potts, an attorney for Brian K. Walker, requested copies of the provisional ballot envelopes, rejected mail-out ballot envelopes, applications and rejection letters and 72 ballots that she had questions about," said Cheyenne Lampley, election administrator in Panola County. "In the majority of those ballots that were requested, the voter had voted a straight party but then voted in a different party in the district 11 race. All 72 ballots were counted and included in the recount."

In the Rusk County recount which concluded at approximately 4 p.m. Monday, Mr. Walker lost 14 votes during the recount. The vote discrepancy in that recount stems from "limited ballots." Kathy Wittner, election coordinator, explained that those ballots are designed to allow a voter who moves to a new county to vote during early on races that include only federal and statewide elections.

Ms. Wittner explained that state law does not require limited ballots to be counted by hand. If the paper ballots are scanned and if the voter marks local races, they are counted like regular ballots. Only a recount by hand can reveal this type of discrepancy.

The Houston County recount concluded at approximately 7 p.m. Monday. County Clerk Bridget Lamb said that in the recount, Mr. Walker gained four votes, Rep. Hopson had no change and the Libertarian candidate, Paul Bryan, lost two votes.

Weird. No word as yet as to whether the Walker campaign has conceded or will continue to fight. The next step would be an election contest, to be adjudicated by the House. Wouldn't that add an extra layer of drama on top of the ongoing chaos? Thanks to Trail Blazers for the heads up. The AusChron has more.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 03, 2008 to Election 2008
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