On Election Day in Harris County, Texas, 23 polling sites reportedly ran out of paper, and voters were turned away from what the Harris County GOP claims were Republican strongholds, potentially disenfranchising thousands of Texans.
What’s more, the local GOP says the mayhem may have been intentional.
“If you run the math, if there were 350 people turned away from the poll, not allowed to vote and you have 782 locations, it’s not a leap of logic to believe that we are going to be in the tens of thousands of people who were wrongfully turned away,” Harris County GOP attorney Andy Taylor said at a Thursday press conference to address the issue.
In a Thursday tweet, the Texas GOP stated, “We have verified many reports of voting issues in Harris County, including delayed openings, malfunctioning equipment, and 20+ polling locations that ran out of paper.”
The party said it had “assembled a legal team” with the Harris County GOP, the Republican National Committee, Texas State Senator Paul Bettencourt, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton “to address this.”
We have verified many reports of voting issues in Harris County, including delayed openings, malfunctioning equipment, and 20+ polling locations that ran out of paper. We have assembled a legal team with @HarrisCountyRP, @GOP, @TeamBettencourt, and @TXAG to address this. #txlege
— Texas GOP (@TexasGOP) November 10, 2022
At the press conference, Taylor shared the stunning details.
“Why would it be that the only places that our investigation has shown thus far to not have enough paper to vote were Republican stronghold precincts?” asked Taylor. “One would think, if it’s just a simple administrative screw-up — we don’t have enough paper for the entire election — then that screw-up would be all over the Democratic precincts as well.”
“And yet,” he continued, “so far, we’ve found 23 that didn’t have paper. Guess what? All 23 are Republican strongholds.”
“That ought to tell you something,” Taylor stated. “That makes me suspect that this wasn’t just a colossal failure, this was intentional. And we’re going to take this investigation wherever it leads, and we will file the appropriate paperwork.”
For those not familiar with the Lone Star State, Harris County is the largest county in Texas. With Houston as its county seat, it is also the third most populous county in the United States.
So a “screw-up” that would lead to a lack of paper during what was arguably the most consequential midterm elections in modern American history seems almost unimaginable.
Harris County elections administrator Clifford Tatum said on Wednesday that his office received several requests from election judges who stated they had no more paper, according to KHOU11.
“That same day, he said he could not explain the cause for the paper shortage and said his office had millions of pages of paper to be used for the election,” the station reports.
On Thursday, the GOP had a hearing in front of a judge to discuss mail-in ballots, Taylor said.
“We were told that there are still 200 mail-in ballots that have yet to be counted,” he revealed, adding “we talked about the process by which those should be counted.”
Another hearing was scheduled for later that night, “and if necessary, we will be back in front of the court again at 9:30 in the morning.”
“So stay tuned on what’s going to happen with those mail-in ballots,” he told the press.
And there are still more issues in Harris County as the story continues to develop.
According to Taylor, the “provisional ballots,” would be “colossally important to the outcome of these races.”
“Provisional ballots are for voters who show up, and, for whatever reason, they get flagged,” Taylor explained. “There’s something wrong with that particular voter’s credentials, and so, rather than just turn them away, they’re allowed to vote, but they ‘provisionally.’ Then what happens is, the early voting ballot board will look at those provisional ballots one by one to decide, ‘should they count?’ or ‘should they not count?'”
“Well, unfortunately, the administrator, Mr. Tatu, has found a way to screw that up too,” Taylor continued. “So, he went to court and he asked the court to allow the additional hour voting from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day — every single one of those persons is supposed to vote provisionally — and within about an hour, the Texas Supreme Court spanked that request that Tatum had made and said, ‘That is not what the law says. You’re supposed to do it the way the election code requires, and now, you’re going to have to segregate all of those ballots.'”
“We’re talking about thousands and thousands and thousands of ballots that were cast after 7 o’clock,” he said.
What’s more, according to The Texan, “Commissioner Rodney Ellis (D-Pct. 2) filed a lawsuit seeking an emergency motion to extend the count beyond the 24-hour statutory deadline for precinct returns to be counted.”
Updated w/statement from the Elections Administrator.
Harris County Obtains Court Order to Extend Vote Count After Announcing Count Complete https://t.co/2YiF0stZdg
— Holly Hansen (@hollyshansen) November 10, 2022
“As of the time of this filing, a small number of precinct election records including mail-in ballots, remain outstanding and may not be processed and delivered within 24 hours of the polls closing,” the suit claims.
Included in the filing is a signed statement from Tatum “verifying that the statements regarding the current status of the count ‘are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief,'” reports The Texan.
At 10:26 a.m. on Wednesday, the elections administration posted on Twitter that “final results from all 782 locations were released earlier this morning.”
And at 6:30 that night, “the on-call ancillary court Judge Dawn Rogers granted Ellis’ motion for an emergency Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) allowing the count to continue ‘until … count completion or further order from the Court,'” the outlet reveals.
So the count in Harris County continued after the results were released.
“Announcing the Count is complete when it is not is just a way of making everyone walk away and disengage,” said one user on Twitter. “There is nothing to see here folks, show is over. Everyone go home.”
Announcing the Count is complete when it is not is just a way of making everyone walk away and disengage. There is nothing to see here folks, show is over. Everyone go home 🏡 https://t.co/FrNKc9KPzp
— Oil Always Rises (@OilalwaysRises) November 10, 2022
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