Preliminary Audit Unearths Voting Irregularities in Harris County

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Preliminary check finds voting issues in Harris County, Texas

The Texas Secretary of State’s Office has released its preliminary findings from the audit of Harris County’s November 2022 election. This audit, initiated following a legislative bill and court battles, aims to address multiple election-related failures and ensure the proper management of elections in the largest county in Texas.

Issues Unveiled in Preliminary Audit

The audit highlighted significant issues within Harris County’s election process. Secretary of State Jane Nelson expressed her concerns, stating that “Harris County clearly had multiple failures conducting the election and violated election law for estimating needed ballot paper.” These mistakes, including problems with voter registration data, inadequate supplies at polling places, equipment issues, and incomplete paperwork, negatively impacted the election process.

The audit revealed several troubling findings:

  • At least 38 polling locations had no voter check-ins for extended periods.
  • The county’s voter registration system had over 9,000 more voters than reported to the statewide voter registration system.
  • Nearly 3,600 mail-in ballots were sent to voters but went unreported to the state.
  • The method used for distributing ballot paper did not comply with state law, leading to disruptions and shortages at polling locations.

The audit also noted a lack of proper training for election judges and clerks, contributing to incomplete paperwork and equipment problems.

READ: Harris County Elections Audit November 2022

Reactions and Ongoing Investigations

Harris County was chosen as one of four counties statewide to undergo this audit, following concerns of voting irregularities and fraud after the 2020 election. In response to these issues, state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, introduced legislation that aimed to prevent similar problems in Harris County and other large Texas counties. This legislation eliminated the Elections Administrator position, returning election oversight and administration to the county clerk and tax assessor-collector offices.

After the audit findings were released, Bettencourt emphasized the seriousness of the problems uncovered, including discrepancies in voter numbers and issues with ballot paper distribution.

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The audit has led to multiple lawsuits, with plaintiffs including Black conservatives, a Houston businessman, and 17 judges who filed claims related to election oversight and administrative failures. One of the plaintiffs launched to gather information from voters who experienced difficulties during the November election.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, however, has consistently maintained that there was no voter fraud in the November election or any election. She and the county attorney have yet to issue a statement regarding the audit’s findings.

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Secretary of State Jane Nelson noted that current elected officials have been cooperative with her office. Additional findings may be added to the final report as new information becomes available. Her office is actively working with county officials to address the problems identified in the audit.

Moreover, her office encourages anyone with information about potential election irregularities in Harris County to submit complaints using the online election complaint form.

Source: just the news

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