The Dumas and Sunray Independent School District bond elections took place on November 5, but the outcome has yet to be certified as of Tuesday, November 12, according to Moore County Clerk Brenda McKanna. McKanna said she was having to wait for investigations into the eligibility of several voters who cast provisional ballots to be completed before she could officially certify the outcome of the elections.
In the case of the Dumas Independent School District (DISD), the unofficial vote total was 1,189 for and 1,169 against, a margin of 20 votes. McKanna says there are still 10 provisional ballots outstanding in that election, so even if all 10 votes were against the measure and all 10 turn out to be eligible for inclusion in the total, they will not affect the outcome. In the case of Sunray, where the margin of apparent victory was only one vote, it appeared until Tuesday to be a different story. The unofficial vote total for Moore County was 156 for and 160 votes against. For Sherman County, the unofficial total was 11 for and 6 against. The Sunray Independent School District (SISD) includes part of Sherman County. The vote totals for the two counties combined were 167 for and 166 against. McKanna says there were two outstanding provisional votes from Sherman County to be either included or excluded from the total. Those could have affected the outcome, but she learned Tuesday morning that the two provisional votes in that election would not be counted. The outcome of the two elections is not in doubt. McKanna says she hopes to have the results certified by late Tuesday afternoon. The Veterans Day holiday on Monday caused the certification to be delayed a day.
According to McKanna, provisional ballots are those cast by people who show up to the polls without a picture identification or who did not register to vote or registered at the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), or, for some other reason, did not show up on the voter rolls at the polling place. By law those voters have to be allowed to cast a provisional ballot, and the county tax assessor-collector then determines whether or not they were eligible to vote and whether or not their vote should be included in the total. "Voters have rights, and you have to abide by the election law," said McKanna. "Provisional ballots came into effect in 2007 when the (federal) Help America Vote Act went into effect. It means 'no voter left behind.' You can't refuse a voter the right to vote. You have to offer every voter a provisional … the voters who voted without ID have six days to go to the tax office and prove their ID. If they do, those ballots count. I turn them all (provisional ballots) over to the tax office, and at that time the tax office does their investigation to see why they were left off the roll… and if they find that it was an error on the voter registrar's part, then we count them … you know they can register through DPS now … and if they find it (the registration) wasn't received by the voter registrar, but they did register through DPS, (it is counted). There are all kinds of scenarios. Our hands are tied until that time period expires for those ballots that are out there with the IDs."