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Voter issues reported over LISD ballot

UPDATE: After this Enterprise story was published on Wednesday (Oct. 26), Polk County Clerk, Schelana Hock, released the following statement Thursday morning regarding voting system issues for the LISD school board election:

Dear Polk County Voters:

Due to an error in the school district data base provided to my office for our electronic voting system, a few voters who live in the Livingston Independent School District are not shown as eligible to vote in the LISD School Board election. As soon as we discovered the glitch, we began working diligently doing everything we can to make sure that those who are eligible to vote in the school board election are able. My staff has corrected most, if not all of the incorrect information. However, I encourage all residents of LISD to make sure your ballot contains the school board candidates before you push the “VOTE” button at the end. If you let an election worker know of your problem, we can help, but only if you say something before finalizing your ballot.

Sincerely,
Schelana Hock
Polk County Clerk

LISD has since issued the following statement:

Dear Livingston ISD Community,
As you may be aware we have had many contacts at my office regarding the school board election. The district is mandated by state law to hold a joint election under Chapter 11 of the Texas Education Code and 271 of the election code. This law was passed in 2006 and the district holds a joint election agreement with our county.
The database that contains the coding of the voter registration has not pulled correctly into the voter machines in multiple precincts. We are releasing this statement to you as a voter in an effort to proceed with voting in an abundance of caution. Make sure that you have voted for school board position prior to finalizing your vote if you wish to do so. Please ask for help at the polling site if needed.
If you need further help or wish to verify your eligibility to vote in the LISD School Board Election, please contact:
Polk County Clerk Shelana Hock 936-327-6805
Polk County Tax Assessor-Collector Leslie Burks 936-327-6801
or Texas Secretary of State www.sos.state.tx.us

Thank you for your support of LISD,
Dr. Brent Hawkins
Superintendent of Schools

Editor's note: All school district voter database information is provided by the Polk County Tax Office.

LIVINGSTON - Early voting is underway for the Nov. 8 election and voters have three polling places in Polk County from which to choose. In the first day of balloting, 895 voters attended the Polk County Judicial Center. A total of 119 cast a ballot in Corrigan, while 413 turned out to vote in Onalaska for a total of 1,427 in the county.

Those who wish may cast an early ballot will have until Friday, Nov. 4.

The Enterprise and the Livingston Independent School District each received complaints from voters who said they were unable to cast votes for school board positions. In response to the growing number of calls, LISD issued the following statement from Superintendent Dr. Brent Hawkins:

“The district has heightened concerns from the reports that we are receiving because it is our goal for the voice of the community to be heard. We have a joint elections agreement with the county and we stand ready to do anything we can to aid in a resolution.”

However, Polk County Clerk Schelana Hock said while there may be some confusion with the ballots, the computer system seems to be operating correctly.

“There is nothing wrong with the system,” Hock said. “When they first get checked in, if, on their registration, they don’t show to be in the Livingston School District, they don’t get a ballot with the school district on it. What they need to do is if they get to the end of the ballot — because that’s where the Livingston ISD is located — and it is not on there, they need to point that out before they vote. The few people that have come to complain to me have already voted and didn’t say anything before they voted. If they think they are in that district but it is not on the ballot, they may need to ask about it.”

Hock said one of the ways to be sure those who live within the Livingston school district will be able to vote for the school board is if they are handed a green card. A green card means voters are receiving a Livingston ballot, while a white card indicates they have a ballot without Livingston ISD on it.

“It is our first time for the school district to have an election with us in November and especially a major election like this one. It is confusing and there’s not a separate ballot for Livingston — they are combined. Even if they had voted and wanted to vote in the school district, they can’t because it is all together. I understand some of their frustration.”

Early-Voting-CONTRIBUTEDHEAVY TURNOUT — The line of voters seeking to cast early ballots in the Nov. 8 general election and Livingston School Board extended out the front door Monday. Early voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays through Nov. 4 and from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Polk County Judicial Center in Livingston, the Onalaska Sub-Courthouse and the Sechrest Webster Community Center in Corrigan.

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