November 6, 2020 — Midland ISD has offered the following statement regarding the November 3, 2020 School Board of Trustees election:
Midland ISD is aware of the ballot discrepancies that appear to have occurred in the November 3 Trustee election. Voting is an honored right in a representative democracy and every effort should be made to ensure it is upheld. MISD has taken all necessary steps to provide the County Elections Office with what they need to fulfill their statutory responsibilities under the Texas Election Code.
As we all were recently reminded, every 10 years the US Census is conducted. This new count of who lives where, almost always results in districts being redrawn in order to ensure equal, proportional representation. That occurs not only for the school district but also the County and City. Because this is a routine, but specialized field, MISD hired the firm of Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta LLP to assist in the process of drawing new maps. This firm was also retained by the County and City during the same period for the same purpose - a benefit for the County Elections Administrator who effectively got a "one-stop shop".
According to the Texas Election Code, it is the responsibility of the political subdivision (in this case the school district) to provide a map or "edge/shape file" depicting the boundaries of the Trustee districts, to the Elections Administrator. It is the responsibility of the Elections Administrator to use the map to determine which addresses fit in which boundaries.
On October 11, 2011, the MISD School Board approved new boundaries. These were transmitted to the County Elections Administrator via the Bickerstaff firm, who was also providing all such boundary maps for the County and City. Approximately three months later, on January 12, 2012, the Elections Office sent a memo to County Commissioners reflecting adjustments to the county election precincts in the area to conform with Trustee district boundaries. We understand the county voter registration office assigns addresses based on these lines to make sure voters obtain the correct ballot. The boundaries of the election precincts (306/308) on the county election precinct map that is available, conforms to the boundary between MISD Trustee Districts 1 and 2 so it is not clear to the District why an address in precinct 308 was coded by the county registration records to Trustee District 2.
The Elections Office has successfully administered School Board Trustee elections throughout the preceding decade and we are hopeful they can address the current discrepancy prior to the runoff elections, so that all voters will have the opportunity to fully participate. MISD has been and will continue to fully support their efforts to do so.