Among the array of numbers released on Election Day was the number of under votes for each primary contest.

An under vote is when someone with the ability to make a decision in a given race opts not to.

Under votes could be intentional protests, of sorts, of the candidates on the ballot or they could be the result of an oversight on the voter's part. It can be difficult to glean any definite meaning from under votes alone, but the numbers can conjure some interesting questions.

In the Democratic primary for the McLennan County Precinct 2 commissioner seat between Patricia "Pat" Chisolm-Miller and Norman Manning, 81 voters, or 5.4 percent, with the race on their ballot did not choose either candidate. All 81 voting the same way could not have changed the outcome. Chisolm-Miller won with 1,131 votes to Manning's 292 votes.

Another 81 people, or 4.5 percent, opted not to choose any of the three candidates in the Republican primary for Precinct 2 county commissioner.

Donis "D.L." Wilson received 1,116 votes, Vernon Davis received 411, and Gina Ford received 207.

Even in the contentious Republican primary for District Attorney, 452 people, or 2.6 percent of voters, did not make a choice between between incumbent Abel Reyna or challenger Barry Johnson, who won with almost 60 percent of the vote.

Under votes are also common in uncontested races. For instance:

  • Republican County Judge Scott Felton got 14,755 votes in his favor, and 2,974 voters, or 16.8 percent, passed him over.
  • Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Flores got 15,425 votes in his favor in McLennan County, and 2,304 local voters, or 13 percent, passed him over.
  • Republican State Rep. Kyle Kacal got 2,876 votes in his favor in McLennan County, and 518 local voters, or 15.3 percent, passed him over.
  • Democratic Precinct 5 Constable Freddie Cantu got 545 votes in his favor, and 70 voters, or 11.4 percent, passed him over.
  • Democratic Party Chair Mary Duty got 5,370 votes in her favor, and 585 voters, or 9.8 percent, passed her over.


Cassie L. Smith has covered county government for the Tribune-Herald since June 2014. She previously worked as a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise and The Eagle in Bryan-College Station. Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington.