Young County candidates weighing options after redistricting issues

Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 10:42 PM CDT
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YOUNG COUNTY, Texas (KAUZ) - Young County commissioner candidates in precincts two and four are weighing options to find out what can be done about races that were impacted by redistricting issues during the March primary elections.

There were actually three races, the Young County commissioners precinct two and four and the justice of the peace precinct three, that were impacted by those redistricting issues. However, only Incumbent Matt Pruitt and Rob Ward have come forward to Young County election officials and the Texas Secretary of State seeking answers and guidance about the next steps to take.

“I had two city blocks that I didn’t appear on anybody’s ballot, me or my opponent. I had people that lived in precinct 4 that said I voted for you and I said you shouldn’t have been able to vote for me because you’re not in my precinct,” Pruitt said.

“To me it’s not even about winning or losing the election this is about making it right,” Rob Ward, candidate of Young County commissioners precinct 4, said.

Pruitt, incumbent of 12 years for Young County commissioner precinct 2, said he’s already spoken to two lawyers about possibly filing an election contest.

“I’ve had one attorney tell me it was going to be $10,000. Another attorney told me $25,000. It’s going to cost a lot of money. I have only two years until I retire. If I do get the re-vote, is everybody going to get out and vote and it doesn’t guarantee that you will win,” Pruitt said.

Ward said while he isn’t taking the same route as Pruitt for his Young County commissioner precinct 4 race, he is planning to file a complaint with the Texas Secretary of State’s office in the hopes that maybe there could be a revote.

“The biggest gap in my race was 56, you’re talking about 10 or 12 households that didn’t get to vote correctly. There could be as many as two to four people in a household that vote,” said Ward.

And those running the Young County elections said when they found out there was an issue, they moved quickly to make things right.

“It wasn’t updated in our voter registration system which then did not update into our poll pads. So on the Feb 14 I did have a voter come into my office and say he didn’t get the correct commissioner,” Kaitlyn Mosley, Young County election official, said. “We made a master list. It was about 90 pages long and it has all of our road ranges and what precincts they should be in, what commissioners they should have. I took that to both my early polling locations.”

Pruitt said he believes the company that was in charge of Young County’s redistricting just weeks before the election is to blame and should be helping candidates cover the cost of election contests.

“I think that company should bite the bullet and say ‘okay, we messed up, we need to fix this.’ I don’t think it should be our responsibility because they messed up,” Pruitt said.

Lonnie Wales, who is a candidate for the Young County justice of the peace race, said he believes his opponent Johnny Stewart won fair and square, and he will not be pursuing any further action. Mosley said if those two races are granted re-elections, they will happen during the upcoming May 7 elections as run-off or even a special election.

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