Smith County commissioners review November election problems

Smith Co. Judge Nathaniel Moran: “We need to do better”
Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran speaking during Tuesday's internal review of the November...
Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran speaking during Tuesday's internal review of the November election.(Blake Holland/KLTV)
Updated: Dec. 10, 2019 at 12:56 PM CST
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TYLER, TEXAS (KLTV) - Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran presented an internal analysis of problems experienced in the November election at Tuesday morning’s meeting of the Smith County Commissioners Court.

“This is one of the most important things we do as a commissioners court," Moran said.

Judge Moran said the recent election did not live up to his expectations, and he felt it was important to talk about what can be done differently in future elections.

“I’ve said from the beginning that our performance during the November general election was subpar," said Moran. “We need to do better. We must do better for the county.”

Some of the organizational issues outlined by Moran include:

  • Only one early voting location was used, as opposed to all five potential early voting locations
  • Only 176 of the county’s 350 voting machines were deployed
  • Lack of training addressing the use of election notebooks/manuals provided to election judges
  • County Judge was unavailable throughout the day due to Commissioners Court and Probate Court

Moran also addressed issues related to technology including:

  • Some polling locations didn’t have sustained internet connectivity
  • One voting location had Verizon WiFi when it needed to be AT&T
  • Three locations had printer problems preventing the printing of labels
  • New machines created complications with the setup process at some locations

Judge Moran offered solutions to many of the problems experienced in the November election. He suggested working with both the Democratic and Republican parties to offer additional training along with more one-on-one or small group training sessions before the March election. He also suggested starting the setup process at least three weeks before the election along with opening all five early voting locations and deploying all available machines.

As for his scheduling conflict, Moran suggested Commissioners Court be held on the Monday prior to election day and cancelling his regular Tuesday Probate docket.

“If we’re going to be transparent in county government we have to do these things,” Moran said. “We have to be introspective and willing to talk about things that didn’t go well. If we don’t do that, we lose the trust and transparency aspect of county government that must exist.”

“It’s good to see the attitude the judge and commissioners have toward ensuring we have secure, open, and transparent elections,” said Michael Tolbert, Smith Co. Democratic Party Chair.

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