Ballot canvass

Val Verde County Generosa “Janie” Gracia-Ramon readies a stack of paperwork to hand out to members of Val Verde County Commissioners Court during a special meeting Friday to canvass the ballots cast in the Nov. 3 General Election.

The results of the Nov. 3 General Election in Val Verde County were made official by a unanimous vote of Val Verde County Commissioners Court on Friday.

The court in a special meeting canvassed the votes cast in the Nov. 3 General Election, which included voting for federal, state, district, county, city, school district and hospital district candidates, as well as a slate of 11 proposed amendments to the city of Del Rio charter.

County Clerk Generosa “Janie” Gracia-Ramon, who served as the elections administrator for the November election, presented the final results of balloting to the commissioners court during the special meeting Friday.

She also answered a variety of questions about the process and the election results.

Ramon began her presentation by thanking the court for its support.

She reviewed the stack of printouts she provided to County Judge Lewis G. Owens Jr., each of the three commissioners present, as well as to Frank Lopez, the Val Verde County Republican Party chair, and to the Del Rio News-Herald.

The reports included included the totals of early voting by personal appearance, a report of early voting in personal appearance and election day and a final report that included all of the ballots counted in the election.

“The final report has a total of 15,421 voters,” Ramon said, noting the number represented 53.32% of the county’s 28,922 registered voters.

Ramon began her discussions of voting specifics by talking about the number of early votes by mail.

“We had a total of 2,453 applications that were submitted by mail. We had a total of 2,453 ballots that were sent out,” Ramon said.

She emphasized the county did not automatically send out applications for mail-in ballots. Those were sent to voters by national and state party committees and by individual candidates to encourage voters over 65 to request a ballot by mail.

“We were getting three, four, five applications for the same person, and in order for us to not send someone more than one ballot, we had to handle the 2,453 applications a minimum of three times,” Ramon said.

“In order for us to avoid any fraud or any duplication of someone getting two or three or more ballots, each one of those applications had to be compared to what we had already received, so in essence we handled each one of those 2,453 applications several times,” she added.

She told the court of the 2,453 requested, a total of 2,116 ballots were returned by voters.

County Commissioner Pct. Beau Nettleton asked Ramon if there had been “an issue with the post office.”

“There were some instances where, I believe, that it could have been handled better by the post office, but overall they made themselves totally available to us,” Ramon replied.

Nettleton also asked how many of the mail-in ballots had been thrown out.

“From the ballots that were received by mail, 100 of them were rejected, most of them because the person was not registered,” Ramon said.

The court also briefly discussed provisional ballots, which accounted for 274 of the total number of ballots cast, voting machines and the voter registration list.

Following Ramon’s presentation and the question-and-answer session, Nettleton made the motion to approve the canvassing of the 2020 elections as presented, with County Commissioner Pct. 1 Martin Wardlaw giving the second. The court then voted unanimously to approve Nettleton’s motion.

After the meeting, Ramon said the individual governmental entities whose elections she oversaw, including the two school districts, the hospital district and the city, will likely reconfirm the canvasses during meetings of their respective governing bodies.