By Deanna Kirk — Corsicana Daily Sun
November 21, 2018
Navarro County Commissioners held a special meeting Tuesday morning to approve the voting canvass from the November 6, 2018 mid-term election.
Daniel Teed, Elections Administrator, said while he is embarrassed about the problems that were encountered that day, he is looking for answers, not accusations. Election Systems and Software is replacing the pedestals for the pads voters signed in on, due to faulty wiring and a flawed design. “The numbers were sound,” Teed said. “The problems didn’t affect the outcome of the election — we were right on the money with the count.”
Danda Parker, former Navarro County Elections Administrator, now works for ES&S, and was present for the County Commissioner’s meeting. Teed expressed thanks to not only her, but to her company, Roger Francia in the elections office, the polling judges, and others who were involved in the events of November 6. “Typically we would only be comparing numbers in a canvass,” he said. “But I think this bears addressing a few things. The pedestals had some trouble, and the operators will be learning some additional steps to prevent this in the future.”
Two voters left the polling place without inserting their paper ballot in the scanner. Teed mused there may be some things from that day he’s not aware of, but that they compared signatures with paper ballots, and the numbers are sound, which is remarkable especially considering all the issues with the elections equipment.
The total number of votes counted in the midterm election in Navarro County were 14,453. Teed provided the court a breakdown with early voting totals, absentee and mailed ballots, and provisional ballots. “Everyone in this process has worked very hard,” Teed said. “We are working to make sure that doesn’t happen again, but that we continue to get sound numbers. I had a conference call with Danda and ES&S the other day, and they put some of their best brains together to sort this out. This will give them the absolute best chance of working accurately.”
A lack of Internet signal in Winkler accounted for several ballots that did not wok properly, and in Dawson, where problems seemed the to be greatest, Teed praised the pollworkers for making a handwritten list of voter names before the ES&S technician had to wipe the voting machine clean and start over. “The numbers came out perfectly, which is a testimony to ES&S and our pollworkers who didn’t walk out when it got tough,” he said.
The State passed regulations in 2017 that stated the number of votes must be matched at the precinct level, which is a good deal of paperwork on the part of the pollworker. Teed said that despite the fact they didn’t like it, the pollworkers all filled out their paperwork very well, and he respects that.
Teed said he received several calls about “dead people voting.” He mentioned it because their dead relatives are still receiving jury summons years after dying. Were there being voted counted for them? “I did a bunch of checking around the state,” he said. “When Roger and I checked on some of these dead people still getting jury summons, none of them were registered voters.”
The people at the State level were doing their jobs faithfully to reconstitute the jury wheel, but at some point, had received an old reconstituted jury wheel from DPS, which put the dead people back on the list. “The jury wheel is not just based upon voters rolls,” he said. “Those are in collaboration with Department of Public Safety records. That was nobody’s fault in this process.”
Some officers around the county have old versions of commissioner maps which don’t reflect changes made in 2011. So, while the precinct lines are accurate for the most part, there is a small amount of inaccuracy in the lines because they refer back to old maps. “We are still in pursuit of answers going forward,” Teed said.
ES&S is replacing some equipment, and there will be ongoing training on the use of the equipment offered to the pollworkers. “I think we are going to be better going forward,” he said.
Judge H.M. Davenport said if the State could just keep their records up-to-date, it would be helpful. Teed replied that it was state law that you must use the training equipment provided by the State, which consists of a video which has not been updated for the current equipment, and a training manual that is also not updated.
The Commissioners approved unanimously that the numbers match on the canvassing report.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Eddie Moore stressed caution with the use of burning anything in the County, whether brush, structure, or whatever, because while the ground is still wet, the grass was killed-off by a frost or two, and with high winds like we’ve had, it wouldn’t take much to start a situation similar to the one in California.