EducationIssuesLocal NewsTaxes & SpendingBillion Dollar Dallas Community College Bond Election Contested in Court

The contestants are requesting $100,000 or less in monetary and non-monetary relief such as a redo of the May 4 election.
July 30, 2019
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Earlier this year, Dallas County voters approved a $1.1 billion bond aimed at expanding Dallas County Community College’s (DCCC) operations. Specifically, the bond is planned for the construction of an “Education and Innovation Hub” which requires a redesign of the campus.

The bond retained the 12.4 cents per $100 of property value tax rate.

The measure emerged victorious on May 4 by a whopping 71 percent in support to 29 percent opposed. Less than 10 percent of eligible voters cast a vote in the election.

But the election has been challenged in court by a new lawsuit.

The lawsuit — filed by Kirk Launius, a former candidate for Dallas County Sheriff — alleges electoral misconduct by election officials. Diana Flores, chair of the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD), is the contestee in the suit.

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DCCCD contracted out the facilitation of the election to Dallas County’s Elections Department, but DCCCD is the respondent of the suit due to Texas statute.

The suit itself contains over 4,500 pages of evidence which includes signed affidavits from poll watchers, vote data, and an audit log documenting computer tabulation errors.

The four poll watchers included in the petition each provided their own testimony (via affidavit) detailing what they observed as errors at the Dallas County Central Counting hub. Poll watchers are legally permitted to observe the counting and tabulation of votes at voting precincts.

Some of the allegations made in the affidavits consist of preventing the watchers from observing the vote tabulation; siphoning off the poll watchers in one room while conducting counting in another; tampering with the system’s audit logs; improper use of unofficial equipment to download and count the electronic votes; anomalies within the audit logs; existence of prohibited WiFi connections around the hub; and improper storage of early voting memory cards.

Data listing estimations of the number of potentially compromised votes are also included in the petition. It estimates up to nearly 70,000 early votes and roughly 10,000 election day votes were “potentially affected” by the alleged errors and misconduct.

Additionally, there is a 2,354-5,441 vote discrepancy between the early vote rosters reported on April 30 and the early voter roll tallies reported on subsequent dates after the end of early voting at the end of April.

In other words, reports after April 30 documented fewer votes than the original precinct-reported tallies on April 30. If the county’s reported numbers are accurate, the discrepancy cannot be explained away as individuals requesting an absentee ballot by mail who then failed to return it.

To come up with those tallies, the contestants compare discrepancies in posted voter rosters — reports on April 30 from precinct judges on who has voted in each respective precinct — and the early voter rolls from subsequent dates listing those who have voted at particular precincts.

The organization behind the data in the lawsuit is True Texas Elections, LLC, headed by Dr. Laura Pressley. Pressley ran against current Austin City Councilman Gregorio Casar in 2014 and lost. She then filed a complaint alleging vote tampering during that election.

The case ended in January when the Texas Supreme Court declared the matter moot — since the term of the election she was contesting had passed — but the court also rescinded a lower court’s sanctions against Pressley citing her evidence-based claims as proof that her lawsuit had merit and, contrary to the lower court’s opinion, was not “frivolous.”

Pressley stated in her press release on the current DCCCD case, “Because of the electronic vote tabulation discrepancies and reported illegalities, the official results of the $1 billion Dallas bond election are in question.”

She added, “The reported results for early voting and election day don’t add up — the math is way off.”

The DCCCD did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The case was filed on June 13 with the Dallas County District Court and does not yet have a hearing date.

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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.