Zapata County elections results allegedly not posted

Published: Mar. 10, 2020 at 9:00 PM CDT
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A highly contested race in Zapata shines a big light on the county and their election process.

Election Day has come and gone but in Zapata, a runoff race between Raymundo Del Bosque and Ramon Montes is the big talk of the small town.

With so many eyes on this race, there is a concern over how the county is running it.

"I think they need to be able to have the early votes counted a lot sooner than they do," said Karran Westerman, publisher at Zapata County News. "They were here till 3 o'clock in the morning, why?"

There have been calls to the KGNS newsroom over concerns about the final election results not being posted and that ballots were still being counted.

We approached the Zapata County Clerk's office to investigate these claims.

Since the County Clerk did not want to be on camera, Zapata County Judge Joe Rathmell explained the situation.

"She said the equipment worked well. Everything worked well, there was maybe somewhat of a delay in counting the total number of ballots. It was just a combination of things. Basically it was a two page ballot this year and they just wanted to make sure all the ballots were accounted for so it took a little longer."

According to the Zapata County Clerk, on election night they only had a team of three people counting over 4,000 ballots, Republican and Democrat. Those include paper, mail, and electronic.

Zapata County news publisher and Del Bosque supporter Karran Westerman says it wasn't only the delay in results that had her and many others displeased.

She also believes the Democratic Chairman may be related to Montes, one of the candidates running for sheriff, and its because of that she says he should have excused himself from process.

"I think the Democratic Chair should not have been there because he's the blood uncle of the candidate that does have opposition," said Westerman.

Judge Rathmell doesn't see things quite the same.

"I think like a lot of small communities, you're going to have familial ties with any position, any election but certainly I don't see any concern, legitimate concern with that affiliation," said Judge Rathmell.

When it comes to the delay in final election results, there are two different stories.

"I called Friday and I talked to the county courts office, officer and she said it still wasn't complete," said Westerman.

However, both the County Clerk and judge say they were posted online that day.

As far as the ballots that were still being counted Tuesday, the Zapata County Clerk's office says all that was being counted was the provisional and post marked ballots, which totaled three.