Judge Orders All Outstanding Votes In Midland ISD’s Bond Election To Be Counted

By Mitch Borden

The outcome of Midland Independent School District’s $569 million bond is still up in the air after bungled election results and a box of missing ballots threw the fate of the initiative to build more schools into chaos.

But, now there may finally be a light at the end of the tunnel.

After multiple election contests were filed, a judge has ordered that the 800+ missing ballots, which were found in a stray box in December, be tallied. This could finally reveal whether the multi-million dollar bond passed or failed.

In November, Midland’s voting machines first showed that the bond had failed. Then, a recount found that it had passed. The problem? Over 800 votes had gone missing. But school district officials moved forward certifying the new results — making the recount official.

Midland County officials discovered a ballot box last week that wasn’t accounted for during a recount of the bond election. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

Weeks later, a box containing hundreds of the missing ballots surfaced. This spurred multiple parties to contest the election and recently, a judge granted a request to count all of the found ballots — altogether 837.

Rick Davis is Midland ISD’s school board president, who originally advocated for the bond. He’s not holding out a lot of hope that voters approved the initiative.

“I believe that in all likelihood the bond failed. I’m certainly willing to accept that result and move on.”

Davis’s theory is that the initial results from the voting machines in November, showing that the bond failed, were actually accurate all along.

If so, he hopes once the missing ballots are counted the results will restore Midlander’s faith in local elections. 

“Hopefully the greater good will be served by of all of this by showing the machines were correct all along.”

The votes will be publicly tallied on Friday, January 17th. At that point, a judge will decide whether the bond passed, failed, or if a new election needs to be held.

About Mitch Borden

Mitch Borden is Marfa Public Radio's Permian Basin Reporter. If you have any questions about West Texas' energy industry or the Permian Basin email him at mitch@marfapublicradio.org.
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