Recount Tuesday in Gregg County Pct. 2 Democratic primary for commissioner

Recount Tuesday in Gregg County Pct. 2 Democratic primary for commissioner

LONGVIEW (KYTX) - Two votes in the March 4th primary helped Gregg County Precinct 4 Commissioner John Mathis win the Democratic nomination for his seat, and avoid a run-off with Easton Mayor Shannon Brown.

Brown has asked for a recount, which takes place Tuesday at the Gregg County Courthouse in Longview.

But as another commissioner says, the county's use of electronic voting machines might make for an unfair recount.

For several years, Precinct 2 Commissioner Darryl Primo has questioned whether that is the case in Gregg County.

"Paper is the great equalizer," Primo says, and he says it's paper that would remove all doubt in tomorrow's recount of ballots in the Precinct 4 commissioner's race.

After the march 4 Democratic primary, incumbent Precinct 4 Commissioner John Mathis had a two-vote cushion to win re-election and avoid a run-off with Brown, who placed second.

Brown has asked for a recount, but Primo says these machines, purchased in 2006 with nearly $600,000 in grant money from the secretary of state's office, don't print out paper receipts with each ballot.

"Paper is tangible," Primo says, "and people can touch it and feel it and look at it and count it as many times as they want to count it."

County elections administrator Kathryn Nealy says electronic voting machines do print paper records of each ballot. She's printing those records in advance of tomorrow's recount.

Primo says it's not the same as having a printed receipt at the time the ballot is cast, and without it, a cloud of doubt will hang over the recount.

"They may not like the results of an election, but they will not be able to say that someone tampered with the vote or someone kept a vote from being counted," Primo says.

Nealy says the recount could take two days, because paper printouts of each ballot will be counted by hand.

Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt says there is virtually no way the electronic voting machines used by the county can be subject to tampering, and they've been used for county, school and municipal elections, even borrowed by harris county for its election about four years ago.

There is no Republican challenger for the Precinct 4 seat.


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