Friday, November 08, 2002

Lightning strikes again in Comal County, Texas

Winning vote totals uncanny - everyone gets 18,181 votes


By Roger Croteau
San Antonio Express-News
Copyright 2002

NEW BRAUNFELS — What are the odds?

Let's just say it's the proverbial "astronomical."

Comal County elections officials noticed an extreme oddity after the final votes were tallied in Tuesday's general election.

County Judge Danny Scheel received 18,181 votes in his victory over Lois Duggan.

Republican state Sen. Jeff Wentworth also got 18,181 votes in Comal County in his win over Democrat Joseph Sullivan and Libertarian Rex Black.

To make matters even stranger, Comal County also gave Republican Carter Casteel exactly 18,181 votes in her victory over Democrat Virgil Yanta in the race for District 73 state representative.

"Isn't that the weirdest thing?" County Clerk Joy Streater asked. "We noticed it right away, but it is just a big coincidence. I checked the precincts and the numbers are all different in every precinct for each of them. They just coincidentally all add up to 18,181."

Scheel hadn't noticed the anomaly.

"I'll be darned," he said when it was pointed out to him. "Look at that. That's weird."

Maybe it's not as weird as the daily Pick 3 lottery drawing in New York coming up 911 on the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.

And it's not as odd as 202 people showing up to vote in alphabetical order at Box 13 in Jim Wells County in 1948, and all voting for Lyndon Baines Johnson, giving him an 89-vote margin of victory in the U.S. Senate race against Coke Stephenson.

But since some of those "voters" were dead or later testified at hearings that they did not, in fact, vote, some people don't consider that incident a coincidence as much as a fraud.

In Comal County, it's just the weirdest thing.

© 2002 San Antonio Express-News: