HOUSTON (KIAH) — The Harris County elections department is coming under fire from the Texas Secretary of State over when the county’s vote will be reported, but the county is saying that there are small problems that can be handled.
All this stems from complaints from local and state Republicans about Election Day complaints of ballots being stuck together and machines being jammed.
That led to a statement from Texas Secretary of State John Scott, who said that Harris County would not be able to count all of their votes within 24 hours of the polls closing, or election officials would face a Class B misdemeanor.
“We are closely monitoring the progress of ballot tabulation in Harris County to ensure all relevant election laws are followed and that legitimately cast ballots by Harris County voters in both the Democratic and Republican Primary Elections are counted accurately and timely,” Scott said in a statement.
“Harris County election officials have indicated to our office that the delay in ballot tabulation is due only to damaged ballot sheets that must be duplicated before they can be scanned by ballot tabulators at the central count location. Our office stands ready to assist Harris County election officials, and all county election officials throughout the state, in complying with Texas Election Code requirements for accurately tabulating and reporting Primary Election results. We want to ensure that all Texans who have cast a ballot in this year’s Primary Elections can have confidence in the accuracy of results.”
Sam Taylor, a spokesman for the office, told the Associated Press that Harris County will still be reporting results but indicated they won’t be able to perform a full report by the deadline.
“They told us they should be able to report most if not all early vote totals, but Election Day totals will be severely delayed,” Taylor said.
But Harris County elections administrator Isabel Longoria said in a late press conference that the issues on Tuesday were normal and the county is working hard to get the election results in on time.
She said that Harris County would get all of its election results to the state by the deadline, which is 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
But the dust-up has become political, as Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick released a statement blaming the election issues on Democrats and Harris County Judge Lina Hildago.
“As the polls close across much of Texas, Harris County, the state’s largest and the nation’s third-largest county, responsible for over 10% of the statewide GOP primary turnout announced they have train-wrecked the counting of votes during today’s election. Lina Hidalgo and the Democrats are responsible for this botched job,” Patrick said.
Harris County has nearly 2.5 million registered voters and has come under criticism in past elections over long lines and being slow to post voting results.