When Matthew Sargent, current New Braunfels ISD board of trustees member for District 4, went to cast his ballot at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 3, he said he was surprised to see his own race not included on his ballot.
“I came to the end [of the ballot] and I was like, ‘Hey, something’s missing here, because I know there was a school board election,’” Sargent said.
A neighbor who voted before him also did not have the school board race on their ballot, while another neighbor who voted at noon said the race was back on their ballot, he said.
A Nov. 4 press release issued by Comal County states that after statewide technical issues with the poll pads made and serviced by KnowInk were resolved, the hardware used to check in voters temporarily failed to reload all ballots that the county was contracted to run.
Three reports were made to the Comal County Elections Department regarding the issue, two in connection with the school board race and one in connection to the Lake Dunlap propositions.
According to the county, early voting and mail-in ballots were not affected, and the county has not disclosed how the issue will be addressed moving forward. Races for NBISD board of trustees Districts 2 and 4 as well as the Lake Dunlap propositions were the only races affected in the county.
“At the moment, the [school] district is talking to the county to figure out what’s going on,” Sargent said. “[The county] may have to have a formal complaint from one of the candidates in the race.”
Unofficial results released by the county after 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 3 showed Sargent and Michael Calta, who is running for re-election in District 2, as having lost to their opponents John E. Tucker and Nancy York, respectively.
Comal County results showed Tucker taking 55.4% of the vote and Sargent with 44.6%. In total, 2,325 votes were cast in the race, and the county recorded 1,208 undervotes during early, absentee and Election Day voting.
Undervotes occur when the number of choices selected by a voter in an election is less than the number allowed, according to the United States Election Assistance Commission. Unlike overvotes, a ballot with an undervote is not canceled or disqualified.
In Guadalupe County, Calta received 1,961 votes to York’s 1,909. However, Comal County reported 247 votes for York, and Calta had 183, giving York the majority with 50.14% of the vote. In total, 1,554 undervotes were recorded across both counties for the race.
Sargent shared that either he or Calta would likely file the formal complaint if necessary to ensure the situation is resolved.
“All I want is for every vote to count,” Sargent said. “If Mr. Tucker wins, then Mr. Tucker wins. If I win, then I win. ... But it kind of leaves you wondering what’s going to happen.”
Results are unofficial until they are canvassed and certified by the county clerk. Under Texas election law, the clerk accepts and counts mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 4, if they were sent from inside the U.S., or Nov. 9 if they were sent from outside the U.S.