Breckenridge Texan

UPDATE: City to have mayoral election after all

February 20
10:38 2018

After the eligibility of a last-minute filer was confirmed by the Texas Secretary of State office this morning, Tuesday, Feb. 20, the City of Breckenridge has announced that there are two contenders for the position of mayor and that there will be an election in May.

Last Friday, after 5 p.m., the Breckenridge Texan was informed by the City of Breckenridge that Bob Sims was the only person to file to run for the position of mayor of Breckenridge and that there would be no need for an election, and that’s what we reported on our website and on Facebook.

However, on Saturday, City Secretary Heather Robertson-Caraway called to let us know that there had been last-minute filer but that it was determined at the time that she was not qualified to run. According to Robertson-Caraway, the filer, Allena McElyea Duncan, discovered information that indicated she was qualified and informed the City Secretary late Friday. Due to the Presidents Day holiday, the status of Duncan’s eligibility could not be confirmed with the Secretary of State until Tuesday morning, Feb. 20.

Robertson-Caraway said that Duncan came into the City of Breckenridge office at about 4:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, 15 minutes before the 5 p.m. filing deadline, to pick up the paperwork necessary to file. Duncan handed the completed paperwork to Robertson-Caraway at about 4:57 or 4:58 p.m., the City Secretary said.

When Robertson-Caraway tried to verify that Duncan met all of the qualifications, she discovered that Duncan’s voter registration was listed as “On Suspense.” Robertson-Caraway said that, based on her training at an election law seminar in January, she determined that the suspense meant Duncan didn’t meet the requirement of being a registered voter and classified her application as ineligible. According to the Secretary of State’s office, a candidate for a local office must be a registered voter in the territory they are filing in by the filing deadline.

“By the time we got to that point, it was, like, 20 seconds till 5,” Robertson-Caraway said. “There would be no way you’re going to get a hold of anyone at the Secretary of State’s office on a Friday at five o’clock. I did pick up my phone – my cell phone – and I called (Stephens County Tax Assessor/Collector and election official) Christie Latham from cell to cell because if I would’ve called the county’s land line, it would’ve just given me a recording. But, I did talk to Christie Latham to confirm that (Duncan) still is, as of that day, Friday at 5, on the suspense list.”

Since it was after 5 p.m., there was no time for Duncan to rectify her voting status on Friday.

This morning, Tuesday, Feb. 20, Robertson-Caraway called the Secretary of State’s office and was told that, despite being on the suspense list, Duncan is a viable candidate for mayor. According to the Secretary of State’s office, an individual on the suspense list is still a registered voter and has the same rights as a non-suspense list voter.

Voters are put on the suspense list if they failed to respond to a confirmation of residence notice, or if their renewal certificate was returned to the registrar as undeliverable, or if they were excused or disqualified from jury service because they were not a resident of that county, stated on the juror summons notice that they no longer reside in the county, or their jury summons was returned to the district clerk as undeliverable, the SOS site states.

“Being on suspense, from my standpoint, from the voter registration standpoint, just means that, at some point, some correspondence that was sent to the voter came back undeliverable,” Latham said. “And, so that tells us to mark them on suspense and to find out whether or not we have the correct address or not. So, we sent (Duncan) an address confirmation letter back in November and she never responded to it; she said she didn’t get it. So, that’s the reason she was on suspense. But, that did not disqualify her as a voter; that just meant there was some kind of an issue with her address that needed to be straightened out.”

Latham confirmed that Duncan resolved the situation this morning, Tuesday, Feb. 20, and is no longer on the suspense list.

The election is scheduled for Saturday, May 5.


Story by Tony Pilkington and Carla McKeown

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