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August 16, 2016      6:17 PM

Hill County officials reject allegations of voter fraud and welcome AG review

Outgoing elections official says AG investigator dismissed notion of voter fraud; the activist pushing allegations of voter fraud in Byron Cook’s House District is business partners with a major contributor to his failed primary challenger Thomas McNutt

HILLSBORO – Elections officials in Hill County say they welcome a review by the Office of the Attorney General into voting irregularities that were reported in the March primary. Hill County is part of the Texas House district represented by State Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook, R-Corsicana. Cook narrowly defeated GOP challenger Thomas McNutt in March in a hotly contested high-profile race, so the discrepancy has drawn some statewide attention.

As many as about 1,700 votes were unaccounted for due to some sort of error that has yet to be sufficiently explained by Election Systems and Software, the vendor that supplies Hill County’s voting machines. Regardless of the AG’s review, the outcome of the election is now final.

During a public meeting including ES&S representatives, Hill County Judge Justin Lewis told fellow members of the local Elections Commission there were clearly some mistakes. But he added that no one involved has anything to hide and the AG’s review will hopefully provide some clarity. The Hill County Elections Commission has held several meetings on this topic that were all open to the public, as required by Texas law.

Outgoing County Elections Administrator Pasty Damschen said she’s turned over documents and a flash drive to the AG’s office and visited with an investigator. Damschen told the panel that the investigator said “’from your answers, I see that this was not voter fraud.’”

By Scott Braddock