The race to be the next Chair of the Williamson County Democratic Party will be recounted. At the end of election night with just under 5,800 ballots cast in the race only 18 votes separated the leader Greg Windham over Paul Stempko. The day after, Windham posted on his Facebook page that he had been contacted by the Williamson County Elections Office that there were still 144 ballots to be counted. Of those 144 ballots they consisted of both Democratic and Republican ballots, and those ballots are oftentimes not all counted. The additional ballots included overseas and provisional ballots. The overseas ballots, primarily the votes of deployed military personnel, were due Monday, March 8. Provisional ballots must be looked at individually by the Ballot Board. While the potential for enough Democratic votes existed to change the outcome, it was not likely.
The Elections Office posted yesterday the final outcome. With just over 5,800 ballots counted Windham’s lead over Stempko shrunk to 15 votes, from the 18 reported on election night. Stempko said in an email to supporters last night that he will officially request a recount on Monday.
I feel I owe this to my supporters, as well as to erase all doubt as to the integrity of the election night vote count.
I do not take this endeavor lightly.
Stempko said he will honor the final result and support Windham if the result does not change. “I have advised Greg of my intentions,” Stempko said, “and he graciously accepted my reasoning. Obviously (a recount) is not the result either candidate or Democrats in Williamson County wanted. But for the long-term benefit of our party and candidates moving forward it’s best that everyone is confident in the results of this extremely close race, (15 votes out of 5,805 cast).”
Hopefully whichever candidate wins will notice that neither received a “mandate.” The Democratic Party is a diverse party. We value that diversity and embrace it as a source of strength. We also value a good and vigorous debate, and working with differing ideas to bring about a consensus. If done correctly this election and recount may actually expand and strengthen our party, better positioning it to defeat the GOP in this county. This county has been missing accountability in its government for as long as anyone can recall. Reelecting Diana Maldonado, and getting Jim Stauber and Jeff Maurice on the Commissioners Court, and Teresa Duffin and Allyson Rowe to the County Court must be our most important tasks in the months ahead.
Let’s make sure this vote is counted correctly so we can move ahead united.