The Texas Supreme Court’s decision to order the restoration of Green Party candidates to the November ballot will have minimal impact on Harrison County’s mail-in voting procedures, Elections Administrator Donald Robinette said Wednesday.
“The Supreme Court issued the order that three Green Party candidates must be added to the ballots and not in writing,” said Robinette.
“Fortunately, this seems to have been caught in time,” he said. “But some counties had already received ballots and were in process of mailing them out. Now they have to send out a second one and a letter explaining. (It) just makes it more confusing for voters.”
According to the Texas Tribune, the Texas Supreme Court had ordered the three Green Party candidates to be restored to the November ballot after Democrats had successfully sued to remove them last month because they had not paid filing fees. Per the Supreme Court’s order, all election offices must now update their overseas and military ballots by the Saturday mailing deadline and send new, corrected ballots to replace any that had already been mailed.
The order caught elections administrators, statewide, by surprise, particularly since it happened just days before the Saturday mailing deadline for overseas and military ballots.
“Everybody’s trying to jump in there and get it done,” Robinette said, sharing they were all notified by the Secretary of State’s Office late Tuesday afternoon, causing elections offices to scramble.
He said, fortunately, the mandate won’t cause too much stress for Harrison County.
“This one, being mandated by a court will have to be followed regardless of where any county was in their process,” said Robinette.
“Because we were so well organized, the vendor has already gotten proofs to me,” Robinette said.
Thus, “it looks like it’s not a big thing for us,” Robinette said, sharing he was already set to send his approval for the set of proofs for Harrison County out on Wednesday.
Some counties, however, will have some serious catching up to do, he said.
“Either way we must get a ballot to our overseas and military folks this weekend, whether it is an official one or an emergency one,” said Robinette, asking for prayers for all election officials as they work to get their ballots updated.
Of the three Green Party candidates that have been approved to be placed on the ballot, only two of them are relevant to Harrison County, Robinette noted.
Those candidates are David B. Collins, who is running for US Senate; and Katija “Kat” Gruene, who is vying for Railroad Commissioner.
The third name, Tom Wakely, is running for Congressional District 21. Harrison County is in Congressional District 1, however, and thus will not have him on the ballot.
As an observation, Robinette noted that the election process is ever-changing, which is why it’s important to always offer training to prepare poll workers.
“It seems that every election is like a living organism. Each has its own peculiarities. That’s why we ask poll workers to come back to training every time,” he said. “Some things in our processes may change from election to election.
“Either way, our goal is always to have a clean, honest, transparent election; to treat everyone fairly and equally; and to publish results just as soon as we can,” the elections administrator said.