By Moses Leos III
Kyle voters were unable to decide who would claim the Kyle City Council District 1 seat after incumbent Diane Hervol and candidate Travis Mitchell split the 1,052 total ballots cast right down the middle.
Hervol and Mitchell ended Saturday tied as they each gained 510 total votes, according to final, unofficial results. Mitchell, who trailed Hervol by 46 votes after early voting, rallied to gain 143 votes to Hervol’s 112 on Election Day.
According to the unofficial, final results, only 1,052 of the 17,409 registered voters in Kyle, or 6.04 percent, cast ballots in the May 7 election.
With the District 1 race in a stalemate, how it will be decided could depend on several factors. One factor could be any possible ballots that arrive from overseas.
Hays County Elections Administrator Joyce Cowan said the county waits five days for ballots cast from outside of the country to come in.
If there are ballots for the Kyle City Council District 1 race that are from outside of the country, Cowan said it could “change the outcome of the election.”
But she said any ballots from outside of the country wouldn’t be counted until Thursday. Any other votes from another state that come in before Thursday won’t count.
If the race isn’t decided on overseas ballots, or if there are none, Cowan said there might be an automatic recount. Another option could be a possible coin flip to decide the seat, but Cowan said she “didn’t see that happening.”
Cowan also said the county goes through “checks and balances” to make sure “we didn’t have a provisional ballot.”
According to the Texas Secretary of State’s website, a provisional ballot allows a voter whose name isn’t on the list of registered voters due to an administrative error to vote. Provisional ballots also allow those who don’t have a permanent exemption or photo identification with them at the polling place to vote.
Voters who cast a provisional ballot have six calendar days to present proper identification to the county registrar’s office, or the ballot is rejected.
If the vote is still tied, the race could enter into a runoff election.
But Saturday’s outcome was a surprise for both Hervol and Mitchell.
Hervol, who has served on the dais for the past six years, said she has never seen a race end in a dead tie in Kyle.
But she said after early voting results showed she held a lead, Hervol said she believed she would maintain that momentum.
“I thought we could continue to stay ahead,” Hervol said.
Hervol added she, like Mitchell, will have “no choice but to wait,” and that she has to “wait and see what the outcome is” on how the race will be decided.
Mitchell, who rallied back on election day, said “it was a rough 90 minutes” between the release of early voting and final, unofficial results. Mitchell believed the 46 vote deficit “almost assured me a loss.”
“What an incredible thing,” Mitchell said. “I’m just beside myself. I’m also thankful for my supporters for supporting me.”