Today is the last day to cure a provisional ballot. In the meantime, the counting goes on in the closest Texas Congressional race.
Election officials in 29 Texas counties are furiously counting outstanding votes in the Congressional District 23 election, in which Republican Rep. Will Hurd holds a narrow lead with at least 859 ballots outstanding.
Hurd, a two-term incumbent, thought he had a comfortable win Tuesday night, when the Associated Press called the race for him around 11 p.m.
But the contest tightened in the early morning hours Wednesday, and it appeared — for a half-hour — that Democratic challenger Gina Ortiz Jones had pulled off an upset.
Then the lead changed hands again, and the state’s unofficial results showed Hurd winning by 689 votes. Later Wednesday, a tabulation error in Jones’ favor was discovered in Culberson County. Once the error was corrected, Hurd’s margin had increased to 1,150 votes — out of more than 200,000 cast.
On Friday, Bexar County — which accounts for more than half the votes in the district — updated its tally to reflect 446 ballots counted since election night. Hurd received 183, Jones 253 and Libertarian candidate Ruben Corvalan 10.
Jones gained a net 70 votes, reducing Hurd’s overall margin to 1,080.
Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen said there’s been a steady stream of lawyers and campaign workers at the county’s Elections Department asking questions about the uncounted ballots.
“We haven’t seen so many lawyers in here since forever,” she said.
At least 859 ballots are still outstanding, according to county elections officials across the district, but it’s unclear how many will ultimately be included in the final count.
See here for some background. The SOS still shows Hurd with a 1,150 vote lead, but as you can see the Bexar County elections page shows more votes counted, so the SOS page is a bit out of date. Ortiz Jones is pushing for more information about the provisional voters, though Bexar County officials say they’re just following the rules about what can and cannot be disclosed at this time. I still don’t expect there the be enough uncounted votes to make it likely that she could catch up, but we’ll know soon enough.
In the meantime, the HD138 and HD108 races remain in contention, while Gina Calanni’s lead in HD132 has increased to 97 votes. Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Carol Donovan put out a statement yesterday about the HD108 race that included this curious bit:
One of the hold-ups is caused by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Though Texas law allows people to register to vote when renewing their drivers license, the DMV is notorious for sitting on these registrations and failing to turn them in to the election department of the counties in which they operate. Without this documentation, the local election departments are unable to determine if certain provisional ballots should be counted. In Dallas County, it is estimated that approximately 1,000 provisional ballots are being held, pending the documentation from the DMV. This number is significantly higher than the number of votes that separate the candidates in House District 108.
Not really sure what to make of that, but as I said, we should at least get some official numbers by the end of the day today. Stay tuned.