It is an election that has caused controversy and left many with questions over the last few months, but on Tuesday District Judge Ruben Reyes ordered a new election to decide the Republican nominee for Hockley County Sheriff. The new election is scheduled for September 18th with early voting September 10th through 14th.
During the May election, no candidate won a majority for the Republican Sheriff spot which resulted in a run-off election between the current Hockley County Sheriff Paul Scarborough and R.C. Cheek. During the July 31st run-off, Cheek was declared the winner by one vote.
Scarborough requested a recount. The tables turned and Scarborough ended up winning after the recount by one vote. Cheek then filed a lawsuit against Scarborough to once again question the outcome of the run-off election.
Cheek’s lawsuit stated laws were broken during the run-off when Hockley County Republican Chair Pat Cowan illegally closed down several polling locations and consolidated them elsewhere. The lawsuit also stated there were irregularities with the recount numbers.
The lawsuit led to a one day trial on Tuesday where Judge Reyes listened to both sides and looked at the evidence included the ballots. After several hours Judge Reyes decided to throw out the July run-off election results and to hold a third election.
Judge Reyes also ordered several guidelines for Hockley County to follow with this new election. "The Judge ordered that we have the ballots hand printed here in Hockley County. It will be a lot cheaper and they won’t be run through the machines, they'll be hand counted,” Pat Cowan said.
Judge Reyes says the paper ballots will be hand counted in front of both Cheek’s and Scarborough’s attorneys as well Cowan and the Hockley County District Clerk. In addition to those changes the Judge also ordered that the polling locations consolidated during the run-off election be re-opened for this new election.
That means the 11 polling location used in the May election will be used on September 18th and early voting next week. Each polling location will be open from 9a.m to 5p.m. during voting.
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