Dave McNeely

Dave McNeeley, Austin American Statesman columnist Ralph Barrera/AA-S 8/1/2000

The echoes of the chaos in reporting the results in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation Democratic caucus got national attention, including in Texas.

While Iowa struggles to get things straightened out from the Feb. 3 caucus debacle, Texas Democrats wondered if their March 3 primary results would be available election night to apportion delegates reserved for the state’s 31 state senatorial districts.

In a briefing on Jan. 23, Democratic Party officials said the Texas Secretary of State’s office, which handles election data, indicated it might not be able to have the necessary data on election night to distribute the 149 of the 228 delegates available to the state’s 31 senatorial districts.

Glen Maxey, the former Austin state representative who is overseeing the Texas Democratic Party’s primary voting apparatus, said the state election officials had talked of limitations of their revamped voter reporting system, which tallies the votes from all 254 counties.

“They basically said that’s not built out yet,” Maxey told the Texas Tribune, indicating that the state would deviate from its traditional provision of the necessary data.

Democratic Party officials raised concerns the morning of Feb. 5.

On Feb. 5, Manny Garcia, Texas Democratic Party executive director, issued a statement that it would be a “violation of the public trust” if the Secretary of State’s office failed to report election results by Senate districts on election night.

“Texas is more important to presidential campaigns than ever before and could make or break campaigns,” Garcia said. “With one of the largest delegations, in one of the most diverse states in the country, Texas is the pathway to winning the Democratic nomination.”

Under the Democrats’ rules, 149 state convention delegates are reservcd for the 31 state senate districts.

Each district is awarded from two to 10 delegates, based on each district’s turnout for Democratic candidates for president in 2016 and governor in 2018.

Candidates must get at least 15 percent of the vote in a senate district to be eligible for delegates.

“The public deserves to see the vote and the delegate results on election night,” Garcia said, “and we urge the Texas Secretary of State’s office not to leave Texas voters and our nation in the dark.”

That seemed to get the attention of the Secretary of State’s office. Aspokesmansaid later Feb. 5 that it would indeed have the results on time,The Tribune reported.

“Any allegations that delegate allocations will not be reported on, election night are categorically false,” said spokesman Stephen Chang.

We’ll see what happens after the polls close on March 3.

Contact McNeely at davemcneely111@gmail.com.

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