Midland County Election Commission to discuss embattled elections administrator’s possible termination

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Following controversy over missing ballots in the November election, the Midland County Election Commission will meet Friday to discuss Elections Administrator Deborah Land’s future in her position, the Midland Reporter-Telegram reported.

Tax Assessor Karen Hood, who called the meeting, told the newspaper, “I just think it is our responsibility as a commission to meet and have a discussion.” She said she called the meeting because County Judge Terry Johnson refused to do so. 

Johnson said residents “want [Land’s] head on a spear,” but he doesn’t think the discussion is productive. He told the Reporter-Telegram that Land should be given the opportunity to learn from her mistakes.

“I’ve learned my best lessons through my mistakes, and I never made those mistakes again,” Johnson said.

A county employee discovered a sealed ballot box last week, which was opened and determined to hold 836 ballots from the November election. Land had previously insisted there could be no missing ballots, but election officials now believe this box is to blame for the vote discrepancy between a Nov. 22 recount final tally and initial electronic tabulations. 

Land said on Monday the ballots were placed in a tin box rather than the blue ballot boxes used for this election, which resulted in her office believing this box was empty until it was moved.

Land declined to speak with the newspaper in detail about the upcoming meeting.

“I presume what they’re going to talk about, but I don’t know for sure,” she said.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Luis Sanchez said that if the election commission doesn’t act on Land’s job, he will put an item on the upcoming commissioners’ court agenda to discuss her future with the county.

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