Keller Citizen

Keller bond election fails by one vote

One vote determined Keller taxpayers would not fund $8.2 million in road and intersection improvements.

A three-vote difference in Keller’s bond election prompted a recount to be filed by Invest in Keller, a group formed to support the proposition.

The recount determined instead of three votes, there was only a one-vote difference with the majority opposed to the proposition.

Tarrant County Elections Administrator Steve Raborn was in charge of the Wednesday afternoon recount, with three teams of three people hand-counting the ballots.

Raborn said recounts rarely result in change.

“In my seven years in Tarrant County, I have seen only one change in an election,” he said. “It’s very seldom that we see something like that.”

Raborn said the Keller bond election is the first recount the county has done for a proposition.

“It’s a little outside the mainstream,” he said. “But the procedures are not any different.”

According to results of the Nov. 5 election, out of 3,061 voters, 50.05 percent opposed the package, which for the average Keller homeowner would have increased taxes by $3.31 per month.

The recount shows 1,531 for the proposition and 1,532 in opposition.

“Changes in the recount were due to two paper ballots,” Raborn said.

In one precinct, a ballot was in the ballot box that was not read by the scanner. In another precinct a vote that had registered as an under-vote, meaning no vote, had a very light mark that was counted by the recount committee as a vote “for,” the election official said.

City Council had called for the bond election during an Aug. 20 meeting. The decision came after eight months of meetings, 11 public hearings and an outpouring of community feedback to the Transportation Bond Program Advisory Committee and City Council.

Planning and Zoning Commissioner Ken Lewis, treasurer of Invest in Keller and member of the Transportation Bond Program Advisory Committee, filed the petition Friday.

A $1,000 deposit for the recount was required, which Lewis said was paid for in part by area businesses in Old Town Keller and along Keller Parkway.

"We lost the election by three votes so we decided it was worth a recount to see if there was an error somewhere ... It was just too close,” he said.

Lewis said he takes some of the blame for the loss and feels his group was “a little late organizing and getting the word out.”

“The only thing worse than three votes is one vote,” he said. “If there was ever an example of ‘every vote counts,’ this is it,” he said.

Councilman Bill Dodge, an opponent of the proposition, said he actively encouraged citizens to read and learn about the projects, which he said could be designed safely and effectively for a lot less money.

As far as the recount , Dodge said he was disappointed but was “glad the tax payers didn’t have to foot the bill.”

“I’m glad it’s over,” Dodge said. “And I want to thank the voters for making their voice heard.”

Dodge said he has seen close votes before but not like this one.

“This shows the importance of voters getting out, getting informed and making a difference.”