Travis DA still investigating 17 who voted twice in 2016 election
The Travis County district attorney’s office is still investigating 17 people who voted twice during the 2016 general election, but none of the voters contacted so far has been accused of criminal intent.
Don Clemmer, the director of the district attorney’s Special Prosecution Division, said investigators still have five more people to speak to before they can put a lid on the investigation, but the dozen that have already been contacted do not appear to have intentionally voted twice, which would warrant criminal prosecution.
Clemmer held off on offering any other details, citing an ongoing investigation, but said more definitive information should be available in the coming weeks.
News of the repeat voters came early in July, when Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvior said the voters, who came from different political backgrounds, voted once in early voting, then again on Election Day.
Some of the voters had voted in Republican or Dem- ocratic primaries, but others had no voting record.
Detailed ballot information, including for which candidates the voters had cast ballots, is protected information.
DeBeauvoir said the voting system used in Travis County prevents voters from voting twice, but an error during last year’s Nov. 8 election allowed these 17 people — out of a total of 477,588 who voted early in September — to go through.
If prosecutors find evidence that voters intentionally cast two ballots, they could face a felony charge.
After finishing the last item on Tuesday’s agenda with a reminder for residents to conserve water and keep trash out of streams, Hays County Judge Bert Cobb closed the meeting with a stunning personal announcement.
“I have been diagnosed with a lethal disease, and I will be entering treatment hopefully next week,” Cobb said as members of the audience gasped, according to a video of the Hays County Commissioners Court meeting.
Cobb, who chairs the lawmaking and tax-setting Commissioners Court, has leukemia.
“I thank all of you for your cards and letters and calls of concerns. I thank you for your prayers,” Cobb continued, choking up and wiping tears from his eyes. “I’m a fighter. This is a very aggressive disease, and I plan to treat it aggressively.”
Cobb is a board-certified head and neck surgeon who started his medical practice in San Marcos in 1979. He was first elected county judge in 2010 and reelected in 2014.
He said Tuesday he will take an indefinite leave to undergo treatment. Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe, the senior-most member of the court, will preside over the meetings in his absence, but Cobb said he would continue to watch the court proceedings from home and stay in touch via email.
He added that he has full faith in his colleagues and county staff.
“These people are capable. They’re smart. They have a heart for the county,” Cobb told the audience. “And so I don’t feel badly for you, and please don’t feel badly for me.”