On Wednesday, Oct. 25, the Williamson County Elections Department was notified that a voter in Emergency Service District (ESD) 9 did not have the ESD 9 sales and use tax proposition on their ballot. A review showed that 879 voters live in homes that were annexed into ESD 9 in 2021 but had not been programed to receive a ballot with the ESD 9 sales and use tax proposition. For the first three days of early voting, 18 people had completed early voting or submitted a mail-in ballot who were not given this proposition on their ballot.
Human error caused ballots to be incorrectly programed for 879 voters in the ESD 9 Leander area, and 861 have not yet voted. ESD 9 has a total of 22,915 registered voters. A total of 263 ballots have been cast, and 18 voted by mail, in the ESD 9 election during the first three days of early voting.
Williamson County is working closely with the Secretary of State’s Office, ESD 9 board and the chairs of the Republican and Democrat parties on a solution to this issue. All these stakeholders have been involved and approve the solution.
Starting Friday, Oct. 27, the 879 voters will be able to vote in the ESD 9 sales and use tax proposition on a separate ballot. Those ballots will be put into a separate ballot box. They will be counted in a separate tabulation machine on election night. Any impacted voter who goes to the polls today will be informed of their choice to come back starting Oct. 27 in order to vote in the ESD 9 election.
“Today, I stand before you indignant that this happened and resolved to use all resources at our disposal to ensure that this does not happen to another Williamson County voter. This mistake was caused by human error, and the individual responsible is no longer working for Williamson County,” said County Judge Bill Gravell. “To those 18 voters, I want to say that there is nothing worse that can happen than for you not to be able to vote in an election when you should. To you, we apologize and pledge to be laser focused on the solution today and for elections in the future.”
“The ESD 9 Board understands that this is an isolated and unfortunate occurrence. We are working closely with Williamson County Elections on the best solution for our voters,” said Ken Campbell, legal counsel for ESD 9.
Williamson County Elections recommends if a voter is voting, and their ballot does not contain an election option they feel that it should contain, then the voter should stop immediately and tell a poll worker. If a ballot is cast, a voter’s ballot cannot be changed after that. In addition, voters can go to their website www.wilcotx.gov/elections to review their sample ballot prior to voting.
A phone bank at 512-943-3820 has been set up to answer questions for impacted voters regarding the ESD 9 sales and use tax election.
An Emergency Services District (ESD) is a local government agency created by a vote of the public to provide fire protection and/or emergency medical services (EMS) in specific areas in unincorporated Williamson County. Information on the ESD 9 sales and use tax election is available here: Election Information | Williamson County ESD 9 (wilcoesd9.org)