Judge rules in primary election controversy

July 30, 2012 4:57:46 PM PDT
An election mix-up may have cost you your vote. County leaders admit it's a mess. But on Monday, a federal judge ruled that Tuesday's runoff election will go on as planned.

We first told you about the problem earlier this month. Outdated boundaries were used in two races in the May 29 primary and that's affected thousands of voters.

Former Houston Councilmember Jarvis Johnson says he's angry.

"Fourteen hundred people didn't get a chance to vote, which means one person, one vote isn't applicable here," he said.

Johnson is a candidate for the Harris County Department of Education board, an agency that's garnered little attention until the county discovered old district lines were used for the primary elections. The race between Johnson and Erica Lee is one the affected.

"We, as I believe all the attorneys involved and all the parties involved in commissioner's court, have been seeking the fairest way of resolving this, the legal way of resolving this, as quickly as possible," said Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan.

Ryan wants a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Department of Education so that the runoff election already underway can continue Tuesday; a position fellow candidate Lee seems to agree with.

"I don't think we need to cause further confusion with voters," said Lee. "They know when to vote in July and November 6 for president and I think that's a great calendar to follow.

Johnson and Lee are both on the ballot Tuesday and depending on the results, everyone expects someone to file a challenge. But for County Judge Ed Emmett, he says all this attention brought to the little known agency may bring up other questions in the future.

"Do you think the county Department of Education is a useful agency?" we asked him.

"That's a separate discussion to be had later on as we go into the legislative session," he said..

The election will go on as planned.

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