Trouble in Texas: Governor Abbott orders investigation into Harris County election day problems

Source: Hot Air

It’s like a bunch of people too incompetent to run elections were running the midterm elections in Harris County (Houston), Texas. Because they were. Harris County is the third largest county in the United States. There are nearly 2.6 million registered voters. Competence in running elections is a big deal. Otherwise, we end up with the mess we ended up with on Election Day, November 8.

Voters in Harris County experienced problems at several voting location that led to some advocacy groups suing to keep polls open an additional hour. The lawsuit evolved into ending up at the Texas Supreme Court which required all ballots cast by voters who arrived at polls after the usual 7:00 p.m. closing time to be set aside as provisional ballots, separated from the total vote count. The reason for the polls staying open an extra hour was that several polling places were delayed in opening Tuesday morning. A lower court ordered the polls to remain open until 8:00 p.m. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton requested the Supreme Court reverse the lower court’s order.

Governor Abbott is ordering an investigation

“The allegations of election improprieties in our state’s largest county may result from anything ranging from malfeasance to blatant criminal conduct,” Abbott said in a news release. “Voters in Harris County deserve to know what happened. Integrity in the election process is essential. To achieve that standard, a thorough investigation is warranted.”.

Other irregularities reported on Election Day included paper ballot shortages in several polling places.

Houston Republican Sen. Paul Bettencourt said he “wholeheartedly supports” an investigation. According to his office, Bettencourt has spent several days in contact with state leadership about documented issues with Harris County’s election, including a lack of paper ballots at several polling locations.

“This is not about being an election denier, it is about actual reported voter irregularities,” Bettencourt said in a news release. “This is about voter suppression because it’s simply unbelievable that in the 21st century citizens show up to vote and can’t cast their ballots…the cause of this must be determined.”

Governor Abbott called for the Texas secretary of state, attorney general’s office, and the Texas Rangers to start an investigation into Harris County’s elections department. That department is no stranger to problems. In the March primaries, nearly 10,000 ballots were misplaced. Misplaced? They were eventually found. The county’s election administrator resigned. The election administrator, by the way, was a new position put into place by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and voted on by commissioner’s court. Voters didn’t vote for her and she was not competent. She checked some identity boxes for Democrats, though, and that was more important, apparently.

Abbott called for the Texas secretary of state, the attorney general’s office and the Texas Rangers to begin an investigation of Harris County’s elections department, which has been beleaguered after nearly 10,000 ballots were misplaced in March’s primaries. Those votes were eventually found, and the county’s election administrator resigned. The new administrator hasn’t done any better. For the first time ever, Harris County didn’t have a vote count to meet the 24 hour rule after election day.

On Thursday, the counting continued for Harris County, and it was the only county in Texas that had yet turned in election results.

The count took so long that Harris County officials had to go to court to request it on multiple occasions. Now, Harris County Republican leaders are accusing the Elections Administrator’s office of disenfranchising tens of thousands of voters.

Thursday afternoon, those with the Election Administrator’s office said there were still 800 ballots left to be counted. By almost 10 p.m., the Elections Administration’s Office said the votes subjected to the 24-hour rule were counted, and a report was sent to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Shenanigans? Incompetence? We don’t know and that is why the governor is calling for an investigation.

The secretary of state’s office had observers in place in Harris County on Election Day. Local political leaders called in federal observers from DOJ in response to the state’s oversight. Yet, problems happened and no answers have been offered up by county officials. We are a week out from Election Day and here we are. Sadly, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo won re-election and will continue on with her rogue and often corrupt running of Harris County. She may be under indictment herself soon.