Clerk: Provisional ballots may determine local races in Galveston County
LEAGUE CITY, TX (KTRK) -- We're learning more about the fallout from polling problems in Galveston County. Polling hours were extended Tuesday, but only for provisional ballots. And it's those votes could still impact local races.
Elections officials say there are nearly 2,000 provisional ballots that still must be verified and counted. And since we don't know yet if those votes are valid and if so, who they were for, at least two races could still be affected.
"They're not light," said, Bill Sargent, Galveston County's chief deputy clerk for the elections.
By lunchtime Wednesday, Sargent had all 2,000 provisional ballots and was taking them to the voter registrar's office to be processed.
"There are enough ballots out there that I could make a difference," he said.
Among them are 382 ballots cast after normal voting hours. Polls were ordered to stay open nearly two hours late Tuesday following trouble getting many locations functioning in the morning. All but one were open by 9am. That led to long lines and short tempers.
"We're already in the process of dealing with that," Sargent said.
Sargent can't say if the provisional ballots will make any difference. But he pointed us to two extremely close races. In the High Island school trustee race, just seven votes separate the candidates. In the League City City Council race for Position 4, Todd Kinsey is in the lead over two other candidates. Just 1, 682 votes separate him from John Babcock.
"Nobody likes uncertainty," Kinsey said.
Kinsey is concerned not only about the raw numbers but about percentage of total votes. He has 50.2 percent right now, which is enough to avoid a runoff election. Much less, and he won't.
"Just a fact of life and you gotta roll with it," Kinsey said.
The most difficult part of that, Kinsey says, is rolling with it till a final answer comes next week.
All valid provisional ballots cast may not be counted until early to mid next week. We'll stay on top of this for you.
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