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Benavides earns narrow victory after LISD recount

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

An error in the tabulation of six votes was significant enough to swing the results of a Lockhart Independent School District Board of Trustees runoff election on Saturday.
When the initial results for LISD District 4 were posted, Allen McKee, the candidate who won the plurality vote May’s general election, emerged vic

torious. Initial reporting showed McKee ahead of his opponent, Derek Benavides, by a three-vote margin, 110-107.
A judge from the voting station at the Dale Volunteer Fire Department, though, noticed a problem.
“When the results were posted, they showed 12 votes from Dale,” said LISD Assistant Superintendent and election coordinator Janie Wright. “The judge said ‘no, we had 18 people vote [on Saturday in Dale]’”
Research of the discrepancy revealed that six electronic votes cast in Dale had not been tabulated with the paper ballot results.
Of those six votes, one was for McKee and five were for Benavides, reversing the result and showing Benavides ahead 112 – 111.
McKee, who requested a recount of the votes, expressed disappointment with the results. In the May election, he won a plurality with 159 votes, but Saturday’s totals showed many voters did not return to the polls.
“It doesn’t make sense to me that voter turnout is so low,” McKee said. “It’s about the education of our children, and more people should be interested.”
Wright said the ballots were not counted at LISD Central Office, but rather at the polling stations, and when the results were compiled, the staff at Central Office transcribed the tallies provided by the precinct election judges.
“After we found out that the Dale electronic votes hadn’t been included in the tally, we called that judge, and she came back to
Improper vote count spurs recount
fix the error, and we called the rest of the judges to make sure their results were correct.”
Wright said all other precincts had been reported correctly.
“We called [Benavides and McKee] and told them what had happened,” Wright said. “They both seemed to understand, and Mr. McKee came in on Monday to discuss what was required for a recount.”
Wednesday afternoon’s recount, which took nearly an hour and a half, yielded yet another surprise.
Two additional votes were added to Saturday evening’s tallies, reflecting a total of 225 votes cast in the race. The additional votes, however, did not impact the outcome. Both candidates earned one more vote, with the final results showing Benavides securing a 113-112 victory.
Both candidates opted not to comment for the press about the recount on Wednesday afternoon after Wright announced the final results. In later conversations, both expressed a desire to move ahead in bettering the district, to serve the greater interest of the students and the community.
In the District 2 runoff race, former board member Andy Govea faced off against Brenda Spillmann. Like McKee, Govea had earned the plurality vote in the May 14 election, but did not secure the votes he needed to escape a runoff.
Spillman earned the runoff victory over Govea with 124 votes (53.9 percent) to his 106.
Benavides and Spillmann were sworn in during a special called meeting of the LISD Board of Trustees on Thursday evening.
www.post-register.com

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