Midland County Attorney Russell Malm told county commissioners this week that they don’t have the power to fire Elections Administrator Deborah Land unless the county elections commission recommends it first, the Midland Reporter-Telegram reported.
The Midland Elections Commission met last week to discuss Land’s future in her role, and Tax Assessor Karen Hood, a member of the commission, made a motion to fire her. However, no one seconded the motion, the newspaper reported.
Land has come under fire after a missing ballot box from the November election turned up, despite her insistence there were no missing ballots that could explain a discrepancy in the vote count between initial electronic tabulations and further recounts.
Malm told county commissioners that for Land to be fired, four of the five members of the elections commission must vote for it first, then a majority of the five-member Midland County Commissioners Court must add their approval.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Luis Sanchez put a discussion of Land’s position on the meeting agenda in case the elections commission voted to fire her.
“What I can tell you is that, moving forward, we’re going to make sure that there’s improvements in that office,” he told the Reporter-Telegram after the commissioners court meeting. “I’m still moving forward with getting some election inspectors from the secretary of state’s office. And we hope that these improvements will better the outcome of this office and make sure those mistakes don’t occur again.”