April 02, 2008
Macias to sue over HD73 primary result

The recount didn't go his way, so after pondering his options, soon-to-be-former State Rep. Nathan Macias has decided to sue over allegations of irregularities in the HD73 Republican primary.

"There is no other option but to ask a judge to order a new election," said Macias, R-Bulverde, at an Austin news conference. "My hope is that for all our sake, we ensure that a fair, open and honest election takes place." Macias said a comparison of the Democratic and Republican primary election voter lists show that 253 people in District 73 illegally voted in both contests.

"Our position in the lawsuit is you just can't know who really won this election," said Macias' lawyer, Rene Diaz.

"It's always been said, tongue in cheek, 'Vote early and vote often.' I always thought that was just a joke," Diaz said.


The lawsuit alleges several other irregularities that Macias said should invalidate the election night results.

In Comal County, the lawsuit says that 44 mail-in, absentee ballots should not have been counted because they were not signed by Comal County Clerk Joy Streater, as required by law, and that three provisional ballots also lacked election officials' signatures and should have been discarded.

Streater said Macias' representatives did not raise the issue of the unsigned mail-in ballots at the recount, and she did not know whether that allegation is true. If true, she said, "it would be up to a judge to decide" whether they were fatal flaws in the election.

I'm going to guess that the unsigned mail-in ballots issue is one that occurs frequently in elections and never gets any attention paid to it because it never matters. If that's the case, then one could argue that unless there's evidence suggesting these ballots are somehow illegal, overturning an election result on the basis of an oversight is too extreme a remedy. On the other hand, if this is an unusual occurrence, then Macias' argument is more persuasive.

The complaints in Gillespie County focus on Box 5, the last box of the four counties to be tallied. Macias was leading by more than 50 votes before that box was counted, and the results of Box 5 gave Miller his apparent victory.

Macias said the box arrived at the courthouse suspiciously late and showed a suspiciously high voter turnout.

"By far the most serious irregularity with respect to the election records of Gillespie County Box 5 involved the last voter sign-in sheet," which was unsigned by the election judge, the suit says.

Gillespie County election officials were not available for comment Monday afternoon, but Streater said an unsigned voter sign-in sheet is a common oversight, which frequently occurs late on election night when election judges are fatigued.

Box 5 is the new Box 13, I guess. If only a photo ID were required to cast a vote, that would have solved all these problems, right? BOR has more.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 02, 2008 to Election 2008
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