Winters election controversy

Bill Hancock
Runnels County Register
Runnels County Elections Office

At the last Winters city council meeting, issues concerning the (Then) upcoming elections was brought up. Apparently, many people who live in Winters weren't given the option to vote for the city council election.

The only city election was for Council Member, Place 5. The incumbent, Mark Burkhart, defeated challenger Elmer Buckalew, (53.12%) 264 to (46.88%) 233. The council said that the elections office would give paper ballots to those city residents who weren't given the option of voting when they went to the polls. On election day, Shanna Smith, from the Runnels County Elections Office went out to Winters.

It has now been brought up that city residents may have been allowed to vote in that race even if they didn't live in the district. Allegedly the Elections official was told it was an-large election. An email from the Runnels County Election Offices addressed the issue, "I was told incorrectly by the city who was able to vote in that election. I have provisionals to scan in and a few hand counts. Then we will see if it will be contested. Hopefully by Tuesday (November 10) when we canvas if not sooner."

The city election had an average turnout with 497 people casting ballots. It's estimated that there are around 1700 eligible voters in the town. The election saw 84 undervotes. An undervote occurs when the number of choices selected by a voter in an election is less than the maximum number allowed for that election. An undervote also occurs when no vote is cast for a single-choice election. For example, a voter that is permitted to cast one vote for a presidential candidate and does not select a candidate, or a voter who has only cast two votes in a contest allowing three, has undervoted. Voters have the right to undervote if they choose to do so. Unlike an overvote, a ballot will not be canceled or disqualified as the result of an undervote. An undervote can be intentional (e.g., protest votes, tactical voting, or abstention) or unintentional (e.g., oversight on the voter's part or confusing ballot design).