In Liberty County, northeast of Houston, a two-way race in the Republican primary was decided by five votes. The results prompted the losing candidate to file a lawsuit alleging election fraud, and the court ruled in his favor.
Liberty County’s Precinct 4 saw incumbent Leon Wilson and challenger Craig McNair in a tight race for the Republican primary spot as commissioner, with Wilson winning by just five votes, according to election records.
According to The Vindicator, McNair filed suit after the loss, claiming the March Republican Party primary had seventeen voters cast ballots in the wrong precinct.
At least twenty-two votes were determined to have been miscast when Judge K. Michael Mayes in the 253rd District Court for the State of Texas voided the election.
“Because the Court finds that it cannot ascertain the true outcome of this particular race, Section 221.012 of the Texas Election Code requires this Court to declare this specific election to be void,” reads the April 22 order from Judge Mayes, The Texan reports.
Mayes was brought into Liberty County from Montgomery County to avoid any potential conflict of interest.
“Contestant showed by clear and convincing evidence that more than five voters who vote[d] in this race were not eligible to vote in this race because their residence is outside the boundaries of Commissioner Precinct 4,” he wrote.
Mayes’ ruling specified that a new election for the position must be conducted on May 24, the date already set for the Republican General Primary Runoff Election, with early voting held May 16-20.
The Texan reports the Liberty County Elections Administration Office is searching all voter files in Precinct 4 to ensure each is in the correct post-redistricting precinct for the runoff.
Liberty County Clerk Lee Chambers — overseer of the county the elections — said redistricting issues and other difficult circumstances contributed to the mistake.
“I think the judge was right to order a do-over,” Chambers told The Texan. “These are people, and it’s human beings running this — mistakes happen.”
Candidate Wilson took to social media to speak his mind.
“If your voice and vote are discarded and trashed in front of your face, imagine what would happen behind your back!” Wilson posted on Facebook on April 12. “The truth hasn’t come out, but the lies surely have surfaced.”