Malfunction with voting equipment affects Smith County Constable runoff

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TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A glitch in Smith County voting equipment may have affected some early-voting Republican ballots for the Precinct 4 Constable runoff.

According to Smith County Elections Administrator Karen Nelson, the technical issue was detected Monday morning after voters alerted officials that their ballots did not contain the Republican runoff race between Curtis Wulf and Josh Joplin.

Joplin would be the slight favorite, having amassed roughly 350 more votes than Wulf during the four-person primary. Back in March, just over 2,600 votes were cast in the race.

Nelson said that none of the Democratic races were affected and neither was the county-wide race between Austin Jackson and Jarad Kent for the 114th District Court Judge seat.

In a joint statement with Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran, Nelson said that the problems should be fixed by Tuesday morning. Here is the statement in full:

During the first few hours of the first day of early election voting for the July 14 primary election, the Smith County Elections Administration Office became aware of a technical issue affecting certain Republican Primary Run-Off ballots relating to the contest for Precinct 4 Constable. 

After an initial investigation with the election equipment and software vendors, by 12:30 p.m. on Monday, the Elections Administration Office instituted a process change at each of the five early election polling locations as a temporary fix to the technical issue. According to the Smith County Elections Administrator, she anticipates that a permanent fix to the technical issue will be in place prior to polls opening on Tuesday, June 30.

At this point, the precise number of affected ballots is unknown, but the issue appears limited to a handful of precincts. Additionally, the technical issue did not affect the Democratic Primary run-off race, nor did it affect the County-wide run-off race for the 114th Judicial District Court Judge position.  

The problem was first reported by voters who alerted poll workers that their ballot did not contain the run-off race for Precinct 4 Constable. As always, voters are encouraged to closely monitor the content of their ballot and report any discrepancies before casting their ballot and before leaving the polling location. Procedures are always in place to allow for resolution of any issues at the polling location, including the casting of a provisional ballot.

The Smith County Elections Administration office does not anticipate that this will be a continuing issue for the remainder of the run-off election. However, anyone who cast their vote before 12:30 p.m. on Monday, June 29, and who believes that their ballot incorrectly omitted the Precinct 4 Constable race is encouraged to contact the Elections Administration Office and make a report.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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