Smith County temporarily fills post after acting elections administrator quit, then tried to keep job

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TYLER, Texas (KETK) — The Smith County Elections Commission has named Michelle Allcon, elections coordinator for Erath County, to serve as the interim Smith County elections administrator.

The commission’s decision on Thursday comes after Elections Administrator Denise Hernandez resigned on Monday and then told County Judge Nathaniel Moran on Tuesday she did not want to leave.

Hernandez had only been on the job for three months. The city council/school board elections on Saturday were the first elections in the county over which she presided.

Moran praised Hernandez for her time on the job but recommended to the Elections Commission, which he is also a member, to let her go.

“I certainly understand that there is public interest regarding the basis for my recommendation, but
details of personnel matters are something I cannot and do not discuss outside of executive session,” he said a written statement. “I will not deviate from that policy today. Suffice it to say, my recommendation to this body is not rooted in the administration of the recent election itself, which went well.”

He said Hernandez “raised the level of elections expertise and service that we were able to provide to our citizens and for that I am grateful.”

He said that in his roles as county judge and presiding officer of the Elections Commission “elections administration and integrity are extremely important to me. They always have been, and they always will be a top priority for me. As you know, the Elections Administrator position is a key position within the County necessary to instill confidence in our electoral process and preserve our democratic institutions.”

DENISE HERNANDEZ, loses job as Smith County elections administrator

Moran recommended the commission hire Allcon.

“With Michelle in place, we can move forward confidently as we search for a permanent replacement for Ms. Hernandez,” his statement said.

The Elections Commission is made up of Moran, Tax Assessor-Collector Gary Barber, County Clerk Karen Phillips, Democratic Party Chair Michael Tolbert and Republican Party Chair David Stein.

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