Polling problems? Houston City Council candidate says name not on ballot

Problems with voter ID scans at polls

HOUSTON – A few voters alerted KPRC 2 to problems at the ballot box on Election Day. 

Karen Vaughns said a clerk told her there was an issue with her driver's license immediately after it was scanned at John G. Osborne Elementary School in the Acres Homes neighborhood Tuesday. 

"They were saying that another name was coming up under my driver's license. So, I said, 'OK, how is that possible? This has been my address for 45 years. What's the problem?" Vaughns said.

Vaughns told KPRC2 a different name appeared in the database of registered voters when a clerk scanned her ID -- not Karen Vaughns but Karen Booker -- a name that's never been hers. 

Vaughns said she was given a form to fill out and was allowed to vote. She said she cast a ballot but figured something was wrong after it was too late. Vaughns lives within District B in the city of Houston but said a candidate for whom she'd planned to vote wasn't on the ballot. 

She looked up Renee Jefferson Smith's contact information and called her. 

"I said, 'Your name is not on the ballot.' She said, 'Are you sure?' I said, 'Yeah,'" Vaughns said. 

Barbara Bass Walker said she encountered a similar problem when she tried to vote at Greater True Light Baptist Church in northeast Houston. 

"Gave them my ID to vote to look up and they told me my information came up with someone else's," Bass Walker said. 

Like Vaughns, Bass Walker said the name of another person, with the same first name, came up on the screen. 

Bass Walker left the polling location and called the Secretary of State's Office, which directed her to the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Office. 

She was told to return with her voter identification card. She did. Problem solved. 

The same cannot be said for Vaughns, who feared she had cast a ballot under someone else's name. KPRC2 spoke to the office of Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman, which said officials wouldn't know for sure how Vaughns voted until after all votes were tallied. 

The office urged voters to contact the registrar's office at 713-274-8200 if they had any concerns at the polls.