A Texas state judge has ordered a new election for the Seventh Court of Appeals, after Republican primary candidates were left off the ballot in two counties last month. The successful challenge was brought by incumbent Larry Doss, who lost the primary.
Amarillo attorney Steven Denny, who was originally the winner based on the March 3 results, said he was disappointed with the results but understood the court’s reasoning. Denny also said he is concerned about how the rescheduled date could disenfranchise voters who cast ballots in the original elections.
“Although 1,200 voters in those two counties did not get a vote on this particular race, it is entirely likely with the dismal turnout in runoff elections compounded with the COVID-19 scare that we could have fewer than 10,000 voters in the new election, which would disenfranchise the other 80,000 that voted in the original election,” Denny said.
With Wisconsin proceeding with its state primary today after an unsuccessful legal challenge to postpone in light of the COVID-19 crisis, it will be interesting to see how states and localities thread the needle of public health and election participation.
Last week, I wrote about the sudden and tragic death of Kentucky lawyer Danny Alvarez, who had won a primary election for state judge 24 hours earlier. Alvarez was set to square off against the second place winner in the fall election. After his death, the local Board of Elections ruled that the second-place finisher would be the sole candidate on the November ballot.
Now Karen Faulkner, who finished in third place by a mere seventeen votes, is challenging the decision and arguing that she should be on the ballot as well. Details here.
Last Tuesday, Danny Alvarez won the primary for his judicial race in Kentucky. As the top vote-getter, Alvarez was set to square off against the second-place finisher, Tanisha Hickerson, in the fall general election. Hickerson herself secured second place by only seventeen votes over third-place finisher Karen Faulkner.
Tragically, Alvarez died suddenly on Wednesday. While his family and friends understandably grieve, the election officials were faced with an unexpected problem: what to do about the general election. Confessing that there is no recent precedent for this situation, the Secretary of State’s Office has announced that Hickerson would be the sole candidate on the ballot in November. Given how close Hickerson and Faulkner were in the primary, it seems likely that Faulkner will ask for a re-canvassing of the votes already cast. But even if the re-canvassing does not change the result, one can only imagine that Hickerson did not want to win a judgeship in this manner.