PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

May 17, 2011

UPDATE: Samuels to contest PAISD election results

PORT ARTHUR — After losing her bid for a seat on the Port Arthur school board, Julia Samuels is charging foul and plans to contest election results.

Samuels told The News on Tuesday that she believes the Saturday’s election was riddled with irregularities, or even corruption.

“I would use the word “corruption” with ease,” Samuels said. “This has to stop.”

Samuels cited several problems with the election process that she believes may have cost her votes, beginning with the accuracy of the electronic machines used to cast ballots.

“I never did trust the electronic machines,” she said.

About two weeks before early voting started, Samuels said she attended an accuracy testing session. During that time, the voting machine technician experienced problems programming election information into the machine.

“He was having difficulty getting all the precincts in,” she said. “Some of the precincts he did not put in, some of those he split two ways.”

Samuels also cited the degree of difficulty some of the voter machines, especially those operated with a wheel, posed to elderly voters.

There were also reports that some people had to use paper ballots during the early voting period when voting machines malfunctioned, she said.

“I wonder who safeguarded those paper ballots,” Samuels said. “I think some of those votes might have got lost in the shuffle.”

Samuels said she is also suspicious of the late hour Port Arthur voting results were made available.

Other entities like Beaumont, Hardin and Jefferson counties and Jasper had completed their reporting between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., yet Port Arthur did not have results until after 10 p.m., she said.

Samuels said she has ran for election at least 10 times in her life and has never had to wait that long.

“I believe the machines were rigged so I would not win,” she said.

Samuels said she is also wary that other candidates did not campaign nearly as hard as she did, yet beat her in votes.

“Others were not putting near the energy and effort into the campaign, and they are beating me,” Samuels said. “People tell me, ‘Oh, yes, we are going to vote for you’ and the end result is Mrs. Samuels is on the bottom and others that did less campaigning got more votes,” she said.

Of the four candidates running for the board of trustee seat, Samuels received 741 votes, or 13.99 percent, the least of any of the candidates.

Samuels said she has requested a recertification of ballots, and is prepared to take the matter to court.

Samuels sought a recount when she lost her seat on the board to Theo Victor in 2007, coming in fourth then in a seven-person race for two seats. The results of that election were upheld. Samuels also lost her bid for a board seat in 2008.

City of Port Arthur election administrators declined to comment on this story.

skoonce@panews.com

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