Longtime former Llano County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Linda Ballard passed away Saturday, July 4, the Llano County Sheriff’s Office announced.
“Judge Ballard passed, peacefully, at her home,” according to a post on the LCSO Facebook page. “No public services are planned as the family will be having a private service at a later date. Please join us in offering our prayers, and condolences, to her family and friends. We will miss her dearly.”
Ballard started her career for the county as a clerk for the justice courts and was chief clerk for three years before being elected justice of the peace for the Buchanan Dam, Bluffton and Tow communities in November 2006.
She served three four-year terms at the Llano County annex at 8347 Ranch Road 1431 in Buchanan Dam before retiring in December 2018. She was succeeded in the position by her former clerk, Maureen Riggs, who won the 2018 Republican runoff election.
In 2014, Ballard made state and national news when she won re-election to her Precinct 2 JP seat on a coin flip. Ballard and Steve Lange emerged as the top two votegetters from the March 4, 2014, Republican primary, but neither candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote.
In the runoff election on May 7, 2014, both Ballard and Lange received exactly 371 votes and a mandatory recount on June 9, 2014, confirmed those totals.
Under Texas Election Code Section 2.028, then-Republican chair Jim Simmon was ordered to “cast lots” to determine the winner of the race — an outcome determination that had not been seen in a Texas election in a number of years.
Three days later, in the gazebo at the Llano County Courthouse, Simmons flipped a Lincoln dollar and had Lange, listed first on the ballot, call the coin in the air. Lange called “tails,” but the coin came up “heads,” allowing Ballard to win the runoff and retain her position as there was no Democratic opposition in the November general election that year.
Doug Sanders, the current county GOP chair, remembered Ballard fondly for her passion and service to the community.
“Judge Ballard was strong and independent, but also very caring to all she met,” Sanders said. “She was admired and loved and will be deeply missed. RIP Your Honor.”