Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody filed a lawsuit Dec. 15 against Sheriff-elect Mike Gleason to contest the results of the Nov. 3 election in which Gleason defeated Chody, the incumbent, according to court documents.
In the suit, Chody claims that due to “so many material mistakes, illegalities, and/or fraud which occurred in the administrating and tabulation of the election ... the true outcome of the election cannot be ascertained.”
Certified election results have Chody losing to Gleason 43.94% to 56.06%.
The lawsuit cites two sworn affidavits by Cathy Jaster and Marcia Strickler that make claims as to several instances of tabulation error and discrepancies.
In Jaster's affidavit, she states that she saw boxes holding duplicate ballots being processed. When she asked why, she said, she was told those ballots had not actually been processed yet.
In Strickler's affidavit, she states that she saw duplicate printing of ballots if the print button was pressed multiple times by poll workers, which she said created a backlog and the possibility that someone may have been handed the wrong ballot. However, the lawsuit does not cite any known cases of anyone actually receiving the incorrect ballot.
The lawsuit also makes note of the technical error that impacted precinct-by-precinct voting breakdown found by the county Nov. 2.
Williamson County Elections Administrator Chris Davis described this error as a minor, non-results-impacting programming issue by the county's election machine vendor, Tenex Software Solutions. Davis further asserted that every voter in Williamson County received the correct ballot and voted in the correct races and that no election results were impacted by the glitch. The issue only impacted the report that details how voters cast their ballot voter precinct by voter precinct, of which Williamson County has 94. This is a separate precinct distinction than the four county precincts into which Williamson County and each of which is headed by one of four commissioners, he said.
On Nov. 17, ahead of the Williamson County Commissioners Court vote to certify the election results, Davis reiterated that he was completely confident in the election results summary report he presented to the court that laid out the winners of each race.
“The summary report presented to the Commissioners Court today is what we stand behind as 100% accurate,” Davis said.
Chody's lawsuit further claims that Gleason and his wife, Alison, who works as the director of the Williamson County Enterprise Applications Division, participated in electioneering outside of a voting location; however, the lawsuit makes note that they were standing just outside the 100-foot marker. According to the Texas Secretary of State's Office website, such a practice is only considered electioneering if the individual is standing within the 100-foot mark.
The suit also mentions that the Gleasons have used the services of current Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick when he was in private practice and alleges that this association is the reason why Chody was indicted for evidence tampering in the case of Javier Ambler's death in the custody of the county sheriff's office about six weeks before the election.
“Based on this illegality, this court shall attempt to ascertain whether the outcome of the contested election, as shown by the final canvass, is not the true outcome because it is indiscernible as to whether an election officer or other person officially involved in the administration of the election engaged in other fraud or illegal conduct or made a mistake,” the lawsuit read.
Neither Davis nor Gleason had a comment on these matters at this time.
Gleason is scheduled to be sworn into office Jan. 1.
Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody files lawsuit against Sheriff-elect Mike Gleason contesting election results
Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody and his opponent, now-Sheriff-elect Mike Gleason, appeared on the Nov. 3 ballot. (Community Impact staff)