Candidate Matthews withdraws contest of Weatherford City Council Election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Eric Matthews Formal Withdrawal of Election Contest

June 18, 2010

Initially the intent in pursuing an election contest was to ensure election codes that had been violated were enforced thereby protecting and preserving the sanctity of the vote.  It was concluded that without full disclosure of the items requested the ability to pursue enforcement on the basis of the evidence on hand would not be possible outside of a Court of Law.  Additionally, the financial cost to the City and County resulting from a drawn out legal battle in Court would far outweigh the outcome and not be in the best interests of the taxpayer.   Therefore, I have decided to withdraw my contest of the May 8, 2010 City Council Election.

I had hoped that after Robert Parten, the Parker County Elections Administrator had admitted to violating election law, assurances in the form of full public disclosure of everything that had been done properly and not done properly would have been given by the County since the County had been contracted to run the election.  This would have removed all doubt from the public that the sanctity of the vote had been honored and every vote had been counted properly.

Instead the requests given for information under the Open Records Act were only partially honored and removal of all doubt was replaced by political posturing, stone-walling, and non-disclosure.

Although I am disappointed in the response from the County and City, the results from the investigation were not entirely unfruitful.  I am now aware after visiting with the Texas Secretary of State’s Office, the Texas Attorney General’s Office, and the Texas Ethics Commission that the Hart InterCivic Electronic voting machines used by Parker County and in various other parts of the State are only 80% reliable.  This is why election codes pertaining to testing and procedural requirements were written and needed to be met.  This is a fact that is well known by Robert Parten over his years of experience in working with the Hart Intercivic voting machines.  Additional research and investigation also revealed the fact that because of the problematic reliability of these machines there are numerous ongoing lawsuits occurring throughout the Country over similar concerns that have been raised in this case.  These can be viewed on the internet by performing a simple google search.

Bottom line, it is my hope that the pursuit of this matter has raised awareness in our elected officials of the concerns relating to voting machine reliability and paper ballots are utilized in the future until more reliable voting machines can be produced.  If we allow our freedom to vote and the sanctity of the vote to be tarnished then are we really telling all those brave service members who have spilt their blood and gave up their lives on battlefields throughout our history that your sacrifice was for nothing?

In closing, I would like to thank the Weatherford Democrat for allowing me and the other candidates an opportunity to give our side of the story.  This exemplifies the fair and balanced reporting that is a part of the way the Weatherford Democrat conducts business.

Eric Matthews

Candidate for Weatherford City Council Place 4

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The following excerpt from the Texas Election Code is provided for your convenience:

ELECTION CODE

CHAPTER 127. PROCESSING ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEM RESULTS

SUBCHAPTER D. TESTING TABULATING EQUIPMENT

§ 127.091. TEST OF TABULATING EQUIPMENT REQUIRED.  The

automatic tabulating equipment used for counting ballots at a

central counting station shall be tested as provided by this

subchapter.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.

§ 127.092. TESTING AUTHORITIES.  The programmer,

tabulation supervisor, counting station manager, and presiding

judge of the central counting station shall prepare and conduct the

test jointly.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.

§ 127.093. TIMES FOR CONDUCTING TEST.  (a) The test shall

be conducted three times for each election.

(b)  The first test shall be conducted at least 48 hours

before the automatic tabulating equipment is used to count ballots

voted in the election.

(c)  The second test shall be conducted immediately before

the counting of ballots with the equipment begins.

(d)  The third test shall be conducted immediately after the

counting of ballots with the equipment is completed.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.

§ 127.094. DESIGN OF TEST.  (a) The test must be designed

to determine whether the automatic tabulating equipment accurately

counts ballots and otherwise functions properly.

(b)  A group of test ballots shall be counted with the

equipment using the program prepared for processing the ballots

voted in the election.  The test ballots must be printed on the same

stock as the official ballots for the election.

(c)  The group of test ballots must contain a predetermined

number of valid votes for each candidate and for and against each

proposition on the ballot for the election.  The test group must

also contain ballots with votes in excess of the allowable number

and with other improper votes.

(d)  The same test shall be administered each time the

equipment is tested for the same election.

(e)  The secretary of state may prescribe additional

requirements for the test.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.

§ 127.095. DETERMINING SUCCESS OF TEST.  (a) A test is

successful if a perfect count of the test ballots is obtained and

the automatic tabulating equipment otherwise functions properly

during the counting of the test ballots.

(b)  The testing authorities shall determine whether a test

is successful.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.

§ 127.096. CONDUCT OF FIRST TEST.  (a) The custodian of

the automatic tabulating equipment shall publish notice of the

date, hour, and place of the test conducted under Section

127.093(b) in a newspaper, as provided by general law for official

publications by political subdivisions, at least 48 hours before

the date of the test.

(b)  The test is open to the public.

(c)  The automatic tabulating equipment may not be used to

count ballots voted in the election until a test is successful.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.  Amended by

Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 728, § 50, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

§ 127.097. CONDUCT OF SECOND TEST.  (a) The automatic

tabulating equipment may not be used to count ballots voted in the

election until a test conducted under Section 127.093(c) is

successful.

(b)  If the initial test is unsuccessful, the presiding judge

shall prepare a written record of the changes to the program,

adjustments to the equipment, and other actions taken to achieve a

successful test.  The record shall be retained with the test

materials.

(c)  When a test is successful, the presiding judge shall

certify in writing that a test was successful and the date and hour

the test was completed.  The certification shall be retained with

the test materials.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.

§ 127.098. CONDUCT OF THIRD TEST;  VOID BALLOT COUNT.  (a)

If the initial test conducted under Section 127.093(d) is

unsuccessful, the count of ballots voted in the election obtained

with the automatic tabulating equipment is void.

(b)  If the initial test is successful, the automatic count

of ballots voted in the election is valid for the purpose of

certifying the election returns prepared at the central counting

station.  The presiding judge shall certify in writing that the

initial test was successful and the date and hour the test was

completed.  The certification shall be retained with the test

materials.

(c)  If the ballot count is void under Subsection (a), the

testing authorities shall follow the procedure prescribed by

Section 127.097.  When a test is successful, the ballots to be

counted automatically shall immediately be counted.  Immediately on

completing the automatic count, the equipment shall again be

tested, and if the initial test is successful the automatic count is

valid for the purpose of certifying the election returns.

Otherwise, the automatic ballot count is void.

(d)  The procedure prescribed by Subsection (c) shall be

repeated until a valid automatic count is obtained or the testing

authorities determine that obtaining a valid automatic count is

impracticable.  In that case, the ballots shall be counted

manually.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.

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One response

  1. Mr. Matthews – I appreciate your continued dedication and hardwork in making sure the interests of the Citizens of Weatherford are safeguarded.

    At times the journey may seem difficult and overwhelming but when the roots of our tree of Democracy are continually watered it is my belief that tree will once again flourish and be a bright and shining light of hope for all to see.

    Keep your chin up and continue to press on and know what your doing is appreciated by many.

    May God Bless you, your family, and our Nation.

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