|San Jacinto News Times - Local News
Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company
Election judge faces charges of unlawfully accepting a voter
COLDSPRING – Debra Hanson, wife of San Jacinto County Republican Party chair Sean Hanson, is facing a criminal charge for allegedly assisting a Democratic Primary voter cast an illegal vote in the Republican runoff. The incident was first reported in the San Jacinto News-Times in early August when San Jacinto County Criminal District Attorney Richard Countiss said, “We are investigating the incident and will determine whether there appears to be a violation and if so, we will refer it to the grand jury.” Countiss said his office has investigated the allegations by talking to several witnesses and then presented to the grand jury for review recently. “Based on the review by the grand jury, I prepared the complaint,” Countiss said. He explained that the grand jury did not indict Hanson since it is a misdemeanor charge. “I wanted an independent group of citizens to look at it before I prepared the information,” Countiss said. In the August 9, 2012 edition of the San Jacinto News-Times it was reported by two election judges in Precinct 2 that a fellow Republican election judge allowed at least one man to vote in the Republican run-off when she and the man were both told he could not because he had voted in the Democratic Primary. According to Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade, voters who participated in the May 29, 2012 Primary Elections must vote in the same party’s run-off election in which they voted in May. The alleged election violation occurred during the July 31 run-off election. San Jacinto County Democratic Party chair expressed concern that Hanson would allegedly allow a voter to cast a ballot after being told by two other election judges that the voter was not qualified to vote in the Republican run-off after voting in the Democratic Primary. According to Countiss, Hanson will be summoned to court for arraignment where she will be formally notified of the charges and then a court date will be set. The Class B misdemeanor carries a punishment of up to 180 days in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.