LUBBOCK, Texas — What happens when a candidate’s name is left completely off the ballot by mistake? It’s a very good question for Larry Doss of Lubbock, running for Justice of the 7th Court of Appeals, Place 4.
Doss and his opponent, Steven Denny, were both left off the ballot in Cochran County and Collingsworth County.
The unofficial results as of Wednesday evening showed Denny with 46,002 and Doss with 45,683. The difference between them was far less than one percent.
A third candidate, Brian Quinn – running for Chief Justice of the 7th Court of Appeals – was also left off the ballot. But in Quinn’s case, he was the only candidate. Perhaps the Texas legal community would call that a harmless error.
As an aside, Quinn is a graduate of Texas Tech who owns property in Lubbock County.
“The Secretary of State said there’s nothing we can do,” said Cheryl J. Butler, Cochran County Elections Administrator. “We had to just enter zeros [on election night].”
“The election is over,” Butler said.
“We didn’t know to put them on the ballot,” Butler said. “[The] Republican chairman gets his form and then we do ballot order. It actually comes through the party’s state office.”
Jackie Johnson, the District and County Clerk for Collingsworth County, said, “The parties prepare their ballots.”
“I’m all for doing whatever we need to do to get that corrected. I hate that it happened,” Johnson said.
The same problem almost happened in Hockley County but it was caught and corrected just in the nick of time before the election.
Johnson said the candidates could go to District Court and request a new election.
What happens next, remains to be seen.