Houston ISD admits to error on how candidate's name will appear on November ballot

A sample ballot for elections in Harris County lists Houston ISD candidate Mac Walker's name as his birth name, "Lee Walker," despite the candidate filing as Mac Walker with HISD. (Screenshot Courtesy Harris Votes)
A sample ballot for elections in Harris County lists Houston ISD candidate Mac Walker's name as his birth name, "Lee Walker," despite the candidate filing as Mac Walker with HISD. (Screenshot Courtesy Harris Votes)

A sample ballot for elections in Harris County lists Houston ISD candidate Mac Walker's name as his birth name, "Lee Walker," despite the candidate filing as Mac Walker with HISD. (Screenshot Courtesy Harris Votes)

Houston ISD is taking responsibility for an error in the way a school board candidate's name will appear on November ballots that district officials said is not able to be corrected.

Mac Walker, whose legal name is Lee Macerlaen Walker, is running for the school board's District 7 seat. In paperwork submitted to the district Aug. 16, Walker said he signified for his name to appear as "Mac Walker" on the ballot, a name he said he has been campaigning under since filing to run. However, due to an HISD error inputting his name into the Harris County Election's Administrator's Office Entity Portal, his name will appear as "Lee Walker" on ballots instead.


"HISD acknowledges and takes responsibility for the error in inputting Mr. Walker's name into the Harris County Elections Administrator's Office Entity Portal," HISD said in a statement.

HISD said it contacted Harris County on Oct. 4, as soon as they were made aware of the error, and also reached out to the Texas Secretary of State's Office.

"It is our understanding from Harris County that the ballot cannot be corrected at this time," HISD officials said. "Mr. Walker's legal name will appear on the ballot.
Corrective actions and systems in the Office of Board Services have been put into place to ensure that this does not happen again."


While the error appears to be an honest mistake, Walker—who said he has gone by Mac since the day he was born—said he has been frustrated with the process of trying to get things fixed, which he said was filled with delays and confusion over what he was supposed to do to rectify the issue.

In an email provided to Community Impact Newspaper, Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria told Walker changing the ballot language would require new logic and accuracy tests for the entire election, a process she said would be impossible to complete in time for early voting.

Nadia Hakim, deputy director of communications and voter outreach for the Harris County Election Administrator's Office, said the logic and accuracy tests were completed around the end of September. In order to accommodate a request to change a ballot, the request would ideally have been made around mid-September, she said.

Walker said he has already encountered several voters on the campaign trail who were skeptical about the difference between his name and the name on the ballot, including a person who asked him if he really was who he said he was.

"
I didn’t know how to even respond to that," Walker said. "It’s just not good for our society to have this much distrust when it could’ve been fixed early on."

The most recent race for HISD's District 7 took place in November 2017, and the margin between the two candidates running was about 2,700 votes. However, some recent elections have been much closer, including a December 2016 runoff for the District 7 seat that was decided by only 37 votes.

Walker is running against three other candidates for District 7, including Dwight Jefferson, Bridget Wade and incumbent Anne Sung.

Walker said he has inquired about having signage available at polling places to let voters know about the error, but Hakim said, per the Texas Secretary of State, Harris County is unable to post such notices, which she said can be construed as electioneering.


HISD said election notices published on the district's website, in the Houston Chronicle and on the district's bulletin board will include both Walker's preferred name and his legal name. HISD will also mail the notice to registered voters in the five districts up for election on Nov. 2.

In the meantime, Walker said he will continue to try to get the word out, adding that he does not have plans to pursue any legal action at this point in time.

"I have d
onors and people who are strongly encouraging me to fight this in courts," he said. "I got into this race because I wanted to help HISD. I don’t want to become a flash point for mismanaged elections."

Early voting for HISD elections begins Oct. 18. Election Day is Nov. 2.


MOST RECENT

Two restaurants will be coming to Blossom Hotel Houston in early 2022. (Courtesy Blossom Hotel)
Blossom Hotel Houston announces 2 new restaurant concepts

Check out which restaurants will soon come to Blossom Hotel Houston.

Consuelo Mendez Middle School has consistently received poor ratings from the Texas Education Agency. (Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: State could take over AISD school board if poorly-rated campus does not improve; new furniture store to open in McKinney and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 3.

Julia De Leon, a Harris County Precinct 3 resident and essential worker, spoke Nov. 30 at commissioners court in favor of establishing the Harris County Essential Workers Board. (Emily Lincke/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County creates board for essential workers during ongoing pandemic

Local essential workers will now be given a voice to improve working conditions during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic after the Harris County Essential Workers Board was established during the Harris County Commissioners Court session Nov. 30.

Although it is still to be determined how much funding trickles down to Houston from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden Nov. 15, city officials are looking to be prepared for when new competitive grant programs open up and start taking applications. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Here is what the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act could mean for Houston

Although it is still to be determined how much funding trickles down to Houston from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden Nov. 15, city officials are looking to be prepared for when new competitive grant programs open up and start taking applications.

With pandemic rebound underway, HISD looks to future

With a lot on the line this school year, Houston ISD has worked to reconnect with students and fill teacher vacancies.

The school board will consider whether to call a special election to fill the vacancy or make an appointment. (Zara Flores/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Hays CISD to hold special meeting on resignation of board member; Montgomery approves plan for downtown and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 2.

Zoo Lights is a light show within the Houston Zoo that happens every year. (Courtesy Houston Zoo Lights)
10 holiday light displays to see in the Greater Houston area

Check out these nine free and ticketed displays to see through December and January in the Houston area.

Mendocino Farms, a fast casual restaurant known for its wide-ranging and seasonally inspired menu options is slated to open in the M-K-T Heights development Dec. 14. (Courtesy Mendocino Farms)
Mendocino Farms set for Dec. 14 opening in the Heights

A fast-casual restaurant known for its wide-ranging and seasonally inspired menu options is slated to open in the M-K-T Heights development Dec. 14.

Tomball City Council approved a development agreement with Lovett Industrial for 240 acres at Hwy. 249, Rocky Road Nov. 29. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Tomball City Council approves development of 240 acres at Hwy. 249, Rocky Road; JLB Eatery coming soon to Katy and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 1.

HCSO Assistant Chief Mike Lee presents information on the county's new safety policing initiative Nov. 30. (Emily Lincke/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County approves $2.6M program to fight violent crime in unincorporated areas

“We are strategically pinpointing and then attacking crime, and the best part of it is we are doing it hand in hand with the community,” Judge Lina Hidalgo said.

A proposed entertainment zone in Midtown could allow a handful of establishments to sell alcohol that previously could not due to their proximity to a church in the area. (Courtesy city of Houston)
Proposed Midtown entertainment zone could come before Houston City Council in next few weeks

A proposed entertainment zone in Midtown could allow a handful of establishments to sell alcohol that previously could not due to their proximity to a church in the area.