A visiting judge from Gregg County has declared incumbent James Strain winner of the Precinct 3 Commissioner’s Court race.
However, 307th District Judge Tim Womack found “incredibly disturbing” problems including more ballots in a box for a polling place than voters who signed in to vote. Womack was appointed to oversee a lawsuit filed by Strain’s challenger, Kyle Barrett, after Strain was declared winner following the election and a recount earlier this year.
Womack issued Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law which give the seat to Strain but which note a number of irregularities and inconsistencies in the election and election records.
“The contestant has shown by clear and convincing evidence extensive mistakes made by Election Officials in the March 3, 2020, Bowie County Republican Primary Election. These mistakes have revealed a maximum of 20 votes in controversy. The court is unaware for whom any of these controversial votes were cast,” Womack’s opinion states. “Because Mr. Strain won the election by either 27 or 28 votes, this Court concludes these mistakes have not been shown to have ‘materially affected’ the outcome of the race by clear and convincing evidence.”
Womack’s report faults Bowie County election officials for failing to comply with the Texas Election Code, for throwing out a legal vote and calls out an election clerk for making a negative comment about Barrett at her polling place in front of voters.
“The Court finds the March 3, 2020, Republican Primary was fraught with errors, mistakes and failures to follow procedures set forth by the Texas Election Code. The findings of fact this court issues below only partially demonstrate these oversights.”
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