After a “thorough investigation,” the Smith County District Attorney’s Office has declined an election fraud charge that was made against a Chapel Hill ISD employee last year.

A Winona woman, who was charged with a misdemeanor in April 2019, had those charges declined because of insufficient evidence. She allegedly tried to fill out four absentee ballots.

The incident occurred during the CHISD school board election in 2019.

In a statement Friday, the DA’s office said there isn’t sufficient evidence at this time to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt following an investigation from the Smith County Sheriff’s Office and the DA’s office.

“Based on all the evidence collected, the Smith County District Attorney’s Office has no evidence which would call into question the results of the May 2019 Chapel Hill School Board election results,” the statement read.

Last year, Smith County Elections Administrator Karen Nelson contacted the Smith County District Attorney’s Office when she found four absentee ballots were witnessed by the same person, a violation of the Texas Elections Code, according to the sheriff’s office.

An investigation in April 2019 showed the Chapel Hill ISD employee witnessed four absentee ballots for a Chapel Hill ISD school board election, according to the sheriff’s office. An investigator found her sitting in the parking lot of Chapel Hill High School, where she was accused of filling out two more absentee ballots.

The sheriff’s office said she admitted to signing four ballots and soliciting ballots for the school board election. She turned herself in and was booked into the Smith County Jail and released the same day.

The school district put the employee on administrative leave.


I came to the Tyler Morning Telegraph in September 2019. I report on crime, courts, breaking news and various events in Tyler and East Texas.

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