Vote-counting tradition is proudly old-school
Folks in Bastrop County have no intention of giving up their dry-erase board.
You might have watched election results roll in online Tuesday night. In Bastrop County, however, some people proudly relied on a dry-erase board for results.
A public vote-counting party is a quirky, old-school tradition in the county, complete with live results updated by hand for viewers to see.
Bastrop County District Attorney Bryan Goertz said the public vote count has been going on since he was in high school. He joined the tradition as an organizer in 2007. Johnny Sanders, a former county commissioner, Bastrop City Council member and school board president, has been involved with organizing the watch parties for 37 years.
Crowds have become smaller as election results are now reported online, Goertz said, but the time-honored tradition lives on.
District attorney’s office investigator David Lewis has been involved in organizing the watch party since the early 1980s. He said that before online election reporting, those involved would have a runner go back and forth from the county courthouse to the watch party to report the results.
“When the runner would show up, the crowd would part like it was the Olympics,” Goertz said.
People from far-away towns and communities nearby, like Caldwell, would come by to observe the watch parties because they had heard of them, Lewis said.
“In the old days, we’d use big plywoods and put white paper over them to report the results,” Lewis said. “You couldn’t mess up because then you’d mess up the whole thing.”
If the organizers have anything to say about it, the tradition will live on.
“We’re not going to let this die on our watch. We don’t want to let this die,” Goertz said.