KAUFMAN COUNTY, Texas — UPDATE [May 25] — The sequestered mail-in ballots have been counted in Kaufman County following a review by the Texas Attorney General's Office's Elections Integrity Unit.
The latest ballots, according to unofficial results released by Kaufman County, put Hal Richards ahead by approximately 800 votes in the race for Kaufman County Judge. Richards garnered 4,341 total votes, or 55.12 percent, to challenger Jakie Allen's 3,535 votes, or 44.88 percent.
The votes also solidified Ken Cates lead in the race for Kaufman County Commissioner Precinct 1 against Monty Roberts. Cates garnered 1,144 votes, or 50.62 percent, to Roberts' 1,116 votes, or 49.38 percent.
Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace candidate Amy Tarno edged out competitor Scott Whitaker with 51.67 percent of the votes at 1,111. Whitaker garnered 1,039 votes.
inForney.com is awaiting additional information on the sequestered ballots.
ORIGINAL [May 22] — In Kaufman County, several run-off candidates must await an Attorney General and Texas Rangers-supervised count of some 600 sequestered mail-in ballots.
Others, including Lance Gooden, Keith Bell, and Mike Hunt, are clear winners in their respective races — with those sequestered mail-in ballots not expected to change their results.
The ballots were sequestered last week after 86th District Judge Casey Blair signed a temporary restraining order to hold the ballots until the state's Attorney General's Office and Texas Rangers could oversee the process. The move comes after allegations of voter fraud and ballot harvesting alleged in a lawsuit filed by State Representative Gooden, a U.S. Representative candidate.
In his race for District 5 U.S. Representative, Gooden defeated incumbent-endorsed candidate Bunni Pounds in a hotly-contested race, with, at last check of unofficial results on Tuesday night, 22,312 votes to 19,257 votes.
Forney ISD School Board President Keith Bell defeated former State Representative Stuart Spitzer in his bid to retake the District 4 seat. Bell, according to unofficial results, tallied 7,892 votes to Spitzer's 5,508 votes across Kaufman and Henderson Counties.
The number of sequestered mail-in ballots in Precinct 1 are not expected to overcome a 444-vote lead garnered by incumbent Mike Hunt in his race against George Mayfield for Kaufman County Precinct 1 Commissioner. Hunt tallied 1,053 votes to Mayfield's 609, according to unofficial election results.
Due to the number of mail-in ballots already sequestered, and others that may arrive on Wednesday, the races for Kaufman County Judge, Commissioner Precinct 4, and Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 are too close to call.
According to unofficial results from Kaufman County, and not including the tallies from the sequestered ballots, Hal Richards garnered 3,931 votes, or 54.14 percent, in the race for Kaufman County Judge with Jakie Allen garnering 3,330 votes, or 45.86 percent. In the race for Precinct 4 Commissioner, Ken Cates garnered 1,075 votes, or 51.12 percent, to Monty Roberts' 1,028 votes, or 48.88 percent. In the race for Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, Amy Tarno garnered 1,057 votes, or 52.64 percent, to Scott Whitaker's 951 votes, or 47.36 percent.
Attorney General's Office and Texas Rangers investigators are expected to begin the process of examining and counting the sequestered mail-in ballots at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Kaufman County Tax-Assessor Collector Brenda Samples told inForney.com. Its unknown how long the process will take.
This is a developing story.