Big Country

Democrats in four Big Country counties unable to cast primary ballots

ABILENE, Texas - Democrats in four Big Country counties weren't able to cast ballots on primary election day.

KTXS news staff called court clerks in Mills, Shackelford, Throckmorton and Callahan counties. Officials in those counties all said primary elections for Democrats were held because their each county doesn't have a Democratic chairperson.

This meant Democrats weren't able to vote for governor, railroad commissioner and other contested state races.

This isn't the first time this has happened. Two years ago KTXS News reported about the same thing happening in Callahan County.

Although Taylor County did have a Democratic primary, Taylor County Democratic Chairman Ed Conley finds fault with those court clerks who didn't hold primaries.

"If it were my county I would be in the county clerk's face," Conley said. "In the next election, I would be working to get that person replaced. In this day and time, it's ridiculous for someone to be disenfranchised, whether they are a Republican or Democrat."

No election laws were violated, according to a Secretary of State spokesperson. County clerks aren't required to hold a primary for parties without a chair.

However, in the last legislative session, lawmakers carved a way for state parties to contract with counties to host primaries for them. The four county clerk offices contacted by KTXS News said they weren't approached by the state Democratic Party.

According to the state Democrat Party website, 15 counties in Texas do not have a chair.

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