EXPLAINER: What happened to the Wichita Co. Justice of Peace Pct. 4 race

Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 8:36 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - A coding issue is to blame for election fallout in Wichita County. It has impacted multiple parties, but the biggest was to the Wichita County Justice of Peace Precinct four seat.

Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom said recent redistricting is to blame for voters living in precinct four not having the race for justice of the peace on their ballots. This is something Wichita County, the voters and even candidates Incumbent Judge Judy Baker and Wichita County Sheriff’s Office Captain Randy Elliott didn’t find out was even an issue until they got to the polls.

“You probably can’t tell on here but mine says precinct 409. I’m in precinct 105,” Danny Cravens said.

Cravens said it took three different trips to his designated voting location until he could cast his ballot for the Wichita County Justice of Peace Precinct four race.

“The real odd thing about this for me is that my wife and I live in the same place, we have the same address, we got these in the mail the same day and hers is right and mine’s wrong,” Cravens said.

Gossom said he actually spoke to Cravens to help and found out. He, along with other voters in precinct four, were experiencing issues with the county’s voter registration system, an outcome of recent redistricting.

“Hers was correct. How that happened, we don’t know. But the rest of the voting, other than that one race, it was not affected by that because you were voting for county-wide or higher candidates,” Gossom said.

Now the two candidates in that race, Baker and Elliott, are weighing their options.

“It’s always something new, different. We went to different voting machines, redistricting this year and they said that’s a part of the problem. I don’t know what the problem was, so maybe they’ll get it worked out and get all these kinks worked out because there will be a runoff election for the state races. I don’t know in our race what’s going to happen, but I know we’re sitting here, we’re satisfied,” Elliot said.

“On the election contest, it doesn’t cost anything other than I believe getting an attorney and getting it filled out to go file with the district clerk so the judge can look at it. I think this has made everybody apprehensive and it’s totally different from any race I’ve ever ran,” Baker said.

Gossom said they hope to have all the coding issues sorted out if Wichita County does have a runoff election or if there has to be a special election for Justice of the Peace Precinct four.

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