by Sahar Chmais
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick offered a reward of up to $1 million last week to incentivize people to come forth with any voter fraud information. But there has not been an outcry over voter fraud in Texas; Hays County even created an example of a smooth election year. Both Republican and Democrat chairs in Hays County, who sat in on the process, emphasized the legitimization of this year’s election.
Hays County Republican chair, Bob Parks, and Democrat Chair, Donna Haschke, came to a harmonious agreement on the solidity of the county’s elections. They were so happy with the process, they felt the need to compliment Jennifer Anderson, Hays County’s election administrator and voter registrar.
“I compliment Jennifer Anderson,” Parks said. “She has an absolute outstanding team of people; they did a great job. Her staff is willing, capable and engaged and made the process go smoothly. Anything about any problems on fraud in Hays county, I reject any of those comments and I think the democrat chair would echo that.”
Haschke did echo that statement.
According to Parks, who was the election judge for the ballot board, the board met 10 times and worked close together with democrat and republican volunteers. He said there were poll watchers watching the whole time as they were counting a load of 13,000 mail-in votes. During the 10 days, there were less than 30 ballots rejected.
A few ballots went before a judge due to a mismatch in the signatures, but once the affidavits were signed and there was proof of identity, the votes were counted.
Parks said the ballots which got rejected were due to a missing signature, a requirement for a mail-on ballot. Some university student ballots were also rejected because they were not registered in Hays County.
Having mutual respect from both parties is part of the success in Hays County’s clean election cycle, but Parks believes that Texas has a thorough voting system which is difficult to have any fraud in.
In Texas, ballot signatures are verified and every mail-in ballot is unique to its own person, ensuring there are no vote repeats. Parks said this allows there to be control in the system.
After working very hard in this year’s elections, Haschke said she understands how hard people work to do the job. She finds it sad to see some being accused of not being transparent in the process because she knows how seriously people take this part of their civic duty.
Haschke said she cannot speak for every state, but it seems to her that there are fail-safes in place in the U.S. to ensure no one votes twice; but if it happens she finds it extremely unfortunate and wrong.
Since there were many thoughts on all the potential wrongs that could occur in this election year, before elections started, Haschke said they made a plan early on. But anything they were afraid of did not materialize.
“We were very pleased at our polling sites, we had very few problems,” Haschke said. “As far as I knew, everything went well. There’s always glitches and human error, but we had excellent turnout and things went very smoothly.”