County Elections Administrator Chris Davis said he was completely confident in the election results summary report he presented to the court and upon which the court voted.
“The summary report presented to the Commissioners Court today is what we stand behind as 100% accurate,” Davis said.
He did, however, make note that he could not guarantee that the voting precinct by voting precinct data, which was released Nov. 16, was completely accurate due to a vendor issue with the machines and the need for poll workers to individually sort through more than 235,000 ballots. This, he said, was because there could be human error in that process.
However, this issue will not and did not impact the overall results of the election, Davis stated.
On Nov. 2, the day prior to Election Day, the elections department found a sorting error incorrectly identifying a voter to their precinct, of which the county has 94. This mislabeled voter precinct information on ballots is what is used when producing precinct-by-precinct data. That information is then used by elected officials and parties to gauge community interests.
Elections officials are adamant that no voter received an incorrect ballot and that this would not impact any results.
“We’re certain that voters throughout early voting in person, Election Day in person and by mail were all given the correct valid style, and they were voting the correct races on the ballot,” Davis said at the time.
The error, however, has prompted some to assume the stance that the election was mishandled and therefore illegitimate.
Several community members spoke about their concerns, claiming that they have proof of voter fraud and that they have obtained lawyers and signed sworn affidavits to that statement. One community member claimed they heard that cameras in the central count office were turned off.
County Judge Bill Gravell and Davis said at the time of the meeting neither had not been made aware of any such affidavits.
Nonetheless, Gravell said the state does conduct election auditing. If inaccuracies are found during that audit, larger steps are taken. He added that the court was legally obligated to certify the results Nov. 17.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Cynthia Long also made note that the PDF format for voting precinct drilled down data, which can be found here, was not easy to use and would like Davis to return with a plan to reformat the data to be more user-friendly in an excel format. She added that in previous elections the data was presented in an excel format.
Because it took six days for poll workers to resort the ballots the first time around, Davis said a similar action may be required in order to achieve the commissioners request.
Davis said added in the recent past precinct-by-precinct data has been provided in a [Microsoft] Excel format, the PDF format was the quickest way his department could produce the data in order to meet the Nov. 16 deadline.
“That [precinct-level] data is important for both parties to get to accurately, and we need to get to that and take the time to be able to provide it,” Long said. “Come back to us with the details of what that will take ... to get there.”
In other business:
- The Commissioners Court approved refinancing bonds at a rate of approximately 1.5% to save the county an estimated $18 million. They also approved refinancing other bonds for more savings to an interest rate of 0.85%—an exceptionally low rate due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.
- The court approved the creation of a four-person committee to evaluate the county’s ongoing relationship with the Williamson County and Cities Health District. It will be chaired by Williamson County Judge Gravell, and recommendations are anticipated to come back in April.
- The court discussed planning for COVID-19 vaccinations for first responders using the third-party provider Family Emergency Room to administer the vaccine. The Williamson County Office of Emergency Management will work on a prioritization list and contract for future discussion.