in Houston, Texas
Walker County election tests new law on ballot records
Monday, Mar 26, 2012, 09:18AM CST
By Steve Miller
vote here

In May, Walker County must hand over the electronic voting records from a local election that took place in November, six months after the election in question, the state Attorney General’s office has ruled.

The Huntsville Item filed an open records request for the ballots and the electronic voting records in order to compare the two for a narrow city council election in which the incumbent was unseated.

The county turned over the ballots in January but claimed the electronic records, which the newspaper wanted in order to compare to the ballots, must be withheld for 22 months. But the county erroneously based its argument on a state voting law that was changed in the last legislative session via House Bill 2817.  Previous law held that all electronic ballots must be held for 22 months before release, but the law was changed for non-federal elections with the bill introduced by state Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood.

The newspaper requested the ballots and electronic voting records after locals questioned the results of November’s city council election.  Incumbent Huntsville City Council Tom Cole lost the election by 53 votes and requested a spot check of the electronic ballots in the 2011 election, but the council denied the request.

The newspaper also requested electronic voting records from a November 2010 contest, which still must be withheld for 22 months, or September, because the new law was not yet in effect at the time of the election.

“In summary, the preservation period for the voted ballots from the November 2010 Huntsville city election is at least 22 months after the election, and the preservation period for the voted ballots from the November 2011 election is at least six months after the election,” the AG’s office ruled.

Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or

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tired dog
Tuesday, 03/27/2012 - 08:31PM

Preserved for 22 mos. or sequestered from examination for 22 mos? This is ridiculous and negates any serious effort to investigate election irregularities.

ps,,,the captcha thing is a pia

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