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Why did Primary night take so long?
Tension grew on Primary night May 29 throughout Wilson County as frustrated voters and candidates awaited results which came after 11 p.m. It was a different story to the southeast, as neighboring Karnes County saw no such delays to their process.
Early voting and mail-in totals were made available to the Wilson County News and posted online as unofficial counts at approximately 8 p.m. that evening. However, the first election night numbers were not forthcoming to post until 11 p.m.
A frustrated visitor to wilsoncountynews.com at about 9:30 election night suggested, “They must be using an abacus and telegraph to get the results out.”
When no numbers were available later that evening, another site visitor posted, “These results are from 8 p.m.; it is now 10:50.”
Other area voters got their news earlier, however.
Karnes County Clerk Carol Swize said their results were tabulated and posted by 9 p.m.
“We were posting results as they came in,” Swize said. “Each precinct’s ballots were tabulated by an M-100 voting tabulation machine made by E.S.&S. Everything we did on Primary night was exactly as it had been in previous years and it was all done the exact same way. Karnes County was not split by the new congressional districts, so all congressional votes that came from Karnes went to the same district.”
While nothing was different in Karnes County on Primary night, Wilson County Clerk Eva Martinez said Wilson County was experiencing an adjustment period.
“It takes a process,” Martinez said. “We are very meticulous about tabulating votes, because we want to make sure we get everything right. Overall, the process went smoothly; the judges were great and did a great job.”
Martinez said some of the election judges were new to the process, but that inexperience will not be a factor in the November election.
“We have some new judges to orient in the proper way of doing things on election night,” Martinez said. “We also had a different location and different setup for this Primary than what we were used to. All of these things are just some of the adjustments necessary to make sure the next election can go a little more swiftly. Some of the judges can go to the upcoming election schools and we will better know the new building for the general election.”
Wilson County had two ballot boxes which contained votes for a different congressional district, as the current redistricting map split part of the county into District 15 with Guadalupe County.
Guadalupe County Election Administrator Sue Basham said her results were a bit slow in being published.
“Everything went fine for us overall,” Basham said. “We were training some new people to be able to work the elections in November, so the process took a little longer, but overall everything went well. We are very meticulous and want to ensure everything is done right so it takes some time, especially with new people. As far as our county being split congressionally, that wasn’t a problem at all, because it was built into our system that tabulates the ballots.”
Martinez said there was some additional reporting to the Texas secretary of state, due to redistricting.
“Having to call in those totals to the secretary of state only took a bit of time, but didn’t interfere with the process,” Martinez said. “Overall, everything went well. After the adjustments are made, November will move a little more swiftly. We welcome any comments here at the county clerk’s office. Positive or negative, my door’s always open.”
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