Travis DA still in­ves­ti­gat­ing 17 who voted twice in 2016 elec­tion

Austin American-Statesman - - OBITUARIES - By Mark Wil­son md­wil­son@states­ tgold­en­stein@states­

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.”


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