Macias gains two votes in count of overseas & provisional ballots

Link to the Herald-Zeitung article.

Macias’ advantage increases by 2 in race
By Leigh Jones
The Herald-Zeitung

Published March 15, 2006

Nathan Macias’ lead in the District 73 Texas House race grew by two votes Tuesday when elections officials in Comal and Gillespie counties counted additional ballots from the March 7 Republican primary.

Comal County elections officials counted 10 overseas and one provisional ballot.

Macias earned seven votes, while his Republican primary opponent, incumbent Carter Casteel, garnered three. Six of the seven provisional ballots originally expected to count in the race were thrown out because the voters who cast them were not registered.

The 11th ballot was counted as an under vote because the voter only registered decisions for the Republican initiatives, not any of the candidates.

The two outstanding Gillespie County overseas ballots were both added to Casteel’s total, bringing the separation between the candidates to 47 votes.

Casteel told the Herald-Zeitung she was not surprised by the outcome and still intended to go through with her planned recount.

“I don’t expect any of this to change anything. We just have to ride it out,” she said. “As much as has been said about this race, everyone will be better off once it’s been double checked. That way no one can come back later and say it could have been different.”

If any more overseas ballots come in before the March 20 deadline, elections officials will meet again to count them, but Republican Party leaders are scheduled to meet today to certify the vote as it now stands.

Casteel then will have 48 hours to make the official recount call in Comal County.

Bandera County officials also will meet today to count their last three outstanding mail-in ballots, giving Casteel an additional 24 hours to call for the recount there.

The process, which Casteel insists is only for the benefit of her supporters, will be expensive for the beaten incumbent, who must pay for all of the associated costs. She has estimated that recounting the ballots from all precincts in the four-county district will cost roughly $3,500. District 73 covers Comal, Bandera, Gillespie and Kendall counties.