2 days after city/school elections, Smith County elections administrator resigns

Local News

TYLER, Texas (KETK) — Two days after presided over her first elections in Smith County and after only a few months on the job, Smith County Elections Administrator Denise Hernandez is resigning.

She submitted a letter of resignation Monday afternoon to Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran, said a statement from the county. Her last day on the job will be Friday.

It will be up to the county Elections Commission to find her replacement. The commission is made up of Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran, Tax Assessor-Collector Gary Barber, County Clerk Karen Phillips, Democratic Party Chair Michael Tolbert and Republican Party Chair David Stein.

The Smith County Elections Commission is scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. Thursday.

“Smith County does not comment on personnel matters,” the county’s statement said.

Hernandez was hired in January to make improvements to the elections process.

“For almost two years now, improving Elections Administration in Smith County has been a focus of the Commissioners Court. The hire of Denise Hernandez is just another step in that process,” Moran said at the time.

When she was hired, Moran praised Hernandez for having the experience to “strengthen the Smith County Elections Office, and to build an elections team that is second-to-none in the state.”

He added, “There is nothing more important as a foundation to our democracy and government – both locally and nationally – than the integrity of our elections.”

Hernandez said in her application that as elections supervisor she would “strive for accountability in maintaining public confidence in honest and impartial elections, which will be conducted in a fair, efficient and accurate manner.”

She replaced Karen Nelson, who now serves as chief deputy elections administrator.

Hernandez previously was the elections supervisor in Henderson County. She began working for Henderson County in 1999 as a property tax bookkeeper. In 2008, she became the county’s first elections administrator. She is a Certified Elections Registration Administrator and Registered Election Official.

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