Diaz Ahead by 16 After Botched Count

After Republican Stan Stanart botched the election night count leaving much left unsaid in the race for Constable, Pct. 2, it looks like Chris Diaz has come out ahead by 16 votes.

Democratic Precinct 2 constable candidate and former Jacinto City mayor Chris Diaz has a 16-vote edge over Precinct 2 patrol sergeant Zerick Guinn in their runoff with all votes counted, election officials said.

The pair had been in limbo since an error in the County Clerk’s office dramatically affected the apparent outcome of their race last Tuesday night. Tuesday’s results are unofficial.

Results posted for hours online showed Guinn ahead 59 percent to 41 percent. Those tallies turned out to be wrong, thanks to an error in transferring the votes from the counting machines to the machine that generated a report of the tallies. When the correct count was posted after 1 a.m., Diaz was ahead by three votes.

Guinn has not yet decided whether to pursue a run-off. In this day and age of electronic voting, a recount basically means you click [enter] and get the tally again. Then you count the remaining ballots. What’s surprising is that the cost is still as high as when these things were done manually.

Meanwhile, Democratic Party Chair Lane Lewis is among many calling for an audit of the election office, now that even the Chron has found Stanart to be incompetent.

Democratic Party chairman Lane Lewis also called for an audit of election procedures. Lewis referenced delays in the posting of results in May and July, and a Democratic primary race for the Harris County Department of Education run on outdated boundaries. County tax assessor-collector Don Sumners has accepted some blame for the error but says the Department of Education was required to notify him of the change; the department disagrees.

“We all want a fair election, so why not have an independent auditor come in and be able to identify, ‘This is what’s going right, this is what’s going wrong’?” Lewis suggested. “There’s nothing wrong with that.”

The irony is that Republicans have remained consistent in their message that “illegal” voters are the problem, but it looks like their incompetence is the problem.  I don’t care what political party is in charge, it is these actual incidents that are a threat to our democracy. Find the problem (and don’t create one out of thin air) and fix it.

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