The court-ordered recount of Nov. 5 election results in Comal County, set for Thursday, might not resolve concerns about balloting irregularities in the four affected entities. Accurate results could be impossible if the electronic voting machines were encoded with the wrong ballots, as suspected in one Schertz contest, said County Clerk Joy Streater, the recount supervisor. “It seems that people were given ballots who were not eligible to vote in that particular race,” said Streater, who was appointed Tuesday by state District Judge Gary Steel to oversee the recount prompted by a county petition. She’s unsure if technicians from Electronic Systems & Software, the vendor of the “direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines,” can weed out the improper ballots. Despite discussions about hand-tabulating individual “vote image logs” of each ballot recorded by the machines, Streater instead plans to print out vote tallies from each of the 179 machines. “If we hand count 16,000 ballots, we’ll be here ’til Christmas and we’ll just get the same results that are now in the machines,” she said, noting the recount may not conclude until Friday.
… After the initial count on election night, roughly 2,500 additional votes surfaced Nov. 6 when Kassab audited the machines. To her dismay, the audited tallies heightened doubts rather than assuaging them — but they didn’t recast any victors as losers, nor turn the defeated $451 million Comal ISD bond plan into a winning proposition.
Kirk Kistner of the Friends of Comal Public Schools said the political action committee doesn’t expect the recount to result in passage of the bond plan it pushed. “What’s important to the PAC is that we get real numbers, by precinct, so we can then use that data to go back and poll the citizens in specific areas where the bond was voted down to find out why,” he said.
In the Place 3 Schertz City Council contest between Daryl John and Bert Crawford, only 37 votes were reported on election night in Comal County. The next day’s audit reported 649 ballots in the contest, despite only 540 voters being registered in the Comal County portion of Schertz.
ES&S spokeswoman Kathy Rogers said ballots went uncounted on election night because two machines weren’t “closed out” properly and rendered incomplete tallies. As to the overcount in Schertz, she said, “Differences in ballots cast versus people who voted is generally a voter registration issue, not a voting system issue.”