By ESTEVAN MEDRANO
Port Isabel-South Padre PRESS
An issue that remains of concern in every election, however, is voting fraud, and perhaps the most vulnerable to this are those races involving write-in ballots.
There are two write-in races occurring in the area including the Laguna Madre Water District race, which requires special instructions from polling place election judges. They have been instructed in the aftermath of the voting process to go through the ballots and take out all which have written votes on them. This is done because the scanning systems used to read fill-in bubbles are not considered reliable in deciphering so many forms of handwriting.
“Opening up the ballot boxes opens up the possibility for tampering and mistakes and outright ballot stuffing,” cautioned Mary Helen Flores of the Citizens Against Voter Abuse. “It’s a big concern. There aren’t poll watchers at every single polling place, so we are relying on the election judges to be honest, to know what they’re doing and not allow any tampering.”
There were more than 1,700 mail-in ballots from the area reportedly counted and processed Monday, a stark rise from the previous cycle, and Flores is pleased that much of the issues of tampering have so far been eliminated, saying reports of possible tampering compared to the past years have been “pretty quiet.”
Despite potential issues that may occur, Cameron County Elections Administrator Chris Davis is confident in declaring legitimate winners for their respective offices. “There are some unique circumstances like every year…but we know how important this is and we have given strict instructions according to the law to all involved with the polling process – as we do every other election.”