Harris County clerk blames GOP for refusing to allow joint primary, causing long wait times for voters on Super Tuesday

HOUSTON – After Harris County voters faced long wait times on Tuesday, in some cases several hours, Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman placed the blame on the Harris County Republican Party.

In a tweet, Trautman wrote that her office proposed “a joint primary election, which would have allowed voters to vote on any available machines. This was rejected by the parties, which means both parties have an equal allocation of machines for each polling location."

In a follow-up tweet, Trauman linked to a press release from the Harris County Republican Party and wrote, “Correction - there wasn’t an agreement between parties. One party agreed while the other did not.”

The press release from the GOP website, dated August 9, 2019, linked to a letter from the Harris County Republican Chair, Paul Simpson to Trautman’s office.

The letter read in part:

“A joint primary would require: voters designating a party when signing in; staffing polls with either or (if available) both Republican and Democrat election judges and workers; and Republican and Democrat election workers checking in voters and managing election equipment for both primaries.”

Simpson declined the offer for a joint primary citing four reasons: delay, confusion, conflict and cost. You can read the full letter here.