, Port Arthur, Texas

November 14, 2012

Sigee to file for recount in tax office race

Dan Bledsoe
The Port Arthur News

BEAUMONT — Thomas Sigee, the Democratic challenger to Republican Jefferson County Tax Assessor-Collector J. Shane Howard, said late Tuesday he will formally request a recount by the 5 p.m. Thursday deadline.


After approximately 90 percent of provisional, absentee and late ballots were rejected Tuesday morning, Sigee said he feels obligated to ask for a review of all 86,664 votes cast.


“I’ve made a decision. I’m going to do it,” he said. “I’ve spoken to my wife and family, and I’ve spoken to people who have supported me in making this decision.


“We’re talking about a double-digit difference. I think I’m entitled and the people that supported me are entitled to get to the very bottom of this.”


Sigee was told by the county clerk’s office that he would have to pay a $1,200 deposit toward recount efforts, although the total cost is likely to be 10 times that amount. Whatever the dollar amount, Sigee called it “immaterial when you think of what is at stake.”


Tuesday morning’s action by the Early Voting Ballot Board sifted through nearly 600 so-called provisional ballots whereby people are allowed to vote despite questions of eligibility.


Despite still trailing, Sigee said he was thankful for state law allowing the review of ballots still not counted after election night, calling it “democracy at its best.”


Howard has been blistering in comments about the outcome, calling Sigee “lucky” to even being considered and saying that the post-election need for additional review of ballots is an “accident” given what he says was strong support from Democrats.


Democrats overwhelmingly voted straight ticket compared to Republicans. Through Election Day, 34,796 people voted Democratic straight ticket countywide compared to 23,166 Republicans.