Beto and Ted
November 7, 2018 8:26 AM   Subscribe

Is there an action somewhere to verify that Ted Cruz really won?

I'm not talking about gerrymandering and other known unfair strategies. I'm talking about whether the vote count literally was accurate given all the broken machines and computer errors. I mean that people who voted D didn't get counted as R. Some of us aren't content to say oh well it's fine to just let technical mistakes determine the outcome of a Senate race. Is there somewhere one can go to join in this query? thanks.
posted by nantucket to Law & Government (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
In Texas, general elections are handled at the county level, by the county election officer (usually the county clerk, the county elections administrator or the county tax assessor -collector). If you really want some sort of certification that each count was accurate, you will need to contact that officer at each one of Texas's 254 counties, and as far as I can see they are not legally obligated to respond. The Texas Secretary of State does have an Elections Division, but they exist to provide before-the-fact aid and advice to the counties and other election authorities. There is a procedure to call for a recount, but it has to be done within two days of the election (i.e., today or tomorrow), and it doesn't seem like a recount would address your concerns.

I too am sorry that Beto lost, but there's not much we can do except accept it and try harder next time.
posted by ubiquity at 11:17 AM on November 7, 2018

Response by poster: accept it and try harder next time.

I really appreciate all the resources above, thank you sincerely. But also sincerely: how can we "try harder" if the issue is with actual broken voting machines? I am not saying this facetiously. There were accounts of people seeing their votes flip and being told "it's broken." Surely this is not something we should accept because the people in charge of the voting machines want Cruz. If that's true it's not even a pretense of an actual vote.
Or am I missing something?
posted by nantucket at 4:09 PM on November 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

You seem surprised that the Republican candidate won by 225,000 votes in a state that hasn’t elected a Democratic Senator since 1988.

There might be occasional problems here and there, but 225,000 is an awful lot of votes. You would have heard a lot more problems than you did. Furthermore: the more populous cities and counties, where more of O’Rourke’s support would have come from, elected lots of Democrats to lots of other offices. In many cases, the county officials are Democrats. Why would they cheat? And why would they cheat here, and not on House races?

How would the administrators of 200+ different counties (just the Republican ones, presumably) coordinate a vast criminal conspiracy to fix just one election but not any others, when 30 years of history and lots of contemporary polling suggests they wouldn’t have to do anything?

The person who would object to the vote totals is Beto O’Rourke. He has not done so. Trust him. Maybe don’t call the entire system of American election administration into question from random social media rumors.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:21 PM on November 7, 2018 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Talk to your local Democratic Party folks, prod them to challenge the validity of the machine vote. There were multiple stories of people finding discrepancies when they chose a straight Dem. ticket. If I lived in such a state, I'd want a class action suit for violating my civil right to have my vote counted and the correct candidate sworn in. Maybe it was legit, but accepting the status quo when the Republicans have made voter suppression a yuge part of their strategy seems naive.
posted by theora55 at 12:25 PM on November 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Hi, I live in Houston TX and have been involved with registering voters and volunteering with various groups here for the last year. I also voted using the problematic Hart ESlate machine that changed some straight-ticket votes. There are a lot of different issues in play here around voting that make it hard for people: no online voter registration, voter ID laws, strict regulations around voter registration drives (you have to be deputized by the county to register people, with mistakes often punishable by felony) to name a few. I think those contributed far more to the outcome than Senate votes being switched on the ESlate machines. I do not think it was a conspiracy, just a matter of crappy machines being crappy and not many people caring much until now.

I do not think that we would change the outcome of the election even if we went back and everyone who voted submitted a paper ballot and they were all rightfully counted. The larger issue is that it is too damn hard to vote here, especially for people that move a lot, college students from out of state, and folks that don't have proper ID already, and the county officials in charge of voting often do the bare minimum as required by law. These barriers stop people from voting altogether far more than the number of people that had their vote changed.

The cities all voted for Beto in great numbers (he got 57% of the vote here in the largest county in TX) and change does not happen overnight in this big, messy, complicated, and mostly Republican and non-voting state. For additional reading I recommend this article, and I hope this didn't go off the rails too much and helps shed some light on what's going on here in TX. I am heartened by how damn CLOSE the race was, despite everything, and I hope a lot of others are, too.
posted by puellaeterna at 9:03 AM on November 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

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