Blogs » Victoria County Election Administrator » At What Cost, Democracy?

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I was surprised by a question asked of me last week. A citizen wanted to know how much extra it would cost to be open on Saturday and Sunday for the Special Election caused by the tie-vote. I told them it would cost more but not really very much and I wasn’t sure of the exact figure. Later I heard from several people who believed the candidates should pay for the election. The candidates seemed to have enough money in their campaign funds and since the election was only for these two individuals, why shouldn’t they pay for it.

 

In thinking about this a little more it puzzles me why there is a double set of standards. The May Election is required by law but so is the June Special Election. No one seemed concerned about the cost of holding the May Election. I think this is because people understand the necessity of holding an election for public officials. But somehow they don’t see the same necessity for holding the Special Election.

The Texas Election Code has provisions for most issues related to elections. A tie vote creates a specific set of requirements and the principle obligation is for the school board to call another election. Those most concerned with cost wanted the candidates to cast lots or withdraw. Although casting lots or withdrawing is a possibility in the code, it is not required nor can it be coerced. In fact trying to force someone to withdraw from an election is against the law.

The supporters of both candidates have worked many hours on the campaigns. There were 581 people who voted for Mrs. Keeling and 581 people who voted for Dr. Jaynes. All the residents of the Trustee District No. 5 were entitled to vote and for those who participated in May you were part of an historic event.

So now we have a second election. Yes it will cost the school district extra money. But when do we stop holding elections because of the expense?