HOUSTON – Many Harris County voters are wondering how the county could see such a massive delay in results on Tuesday, even with a power glitch.
According to the Harris County Elections Administrator, the new system identified the issue and automatically rebooted to make sure election results were safe.
“As we plugged them into printers and such, we overloaded an outlet at NRG,” said Harris County Elections Administrator, Isabel Longoria. “Because we have backups and backups to the backups, I want to be confident and voters to be confident that when the machine gives me a warning like ‘Whoah! Something happened.’ Take time to check it now.”
The votes were delayed for hours, and about 50 % of the votes were reported by midnight. By Wednesday morning, 100% of the votes were reported.
Longoria said the new voting machines are so sensitive that any kind of interruption like a power glitch could mean someone is tampering with results and could shut down the entire election.
“That reboot was just to make sure the software and everything were safe and ready to go. (That) nothing was compromised, even by a power glitch,” said Longoria.
Officials said 12,000 new voting machines with touch screens and paper ballots were unveiled several months ago.
Commissioner R. Jack Cagle said millions of taxpayer’s dollars were spent on this new system that he said looks like it didn’t work very well.
“I would say this first great test has not proved to bear the fruit of the faster better-improved system that’s in place. We got new machines, new beaurocracies, all this new stuff, but not better results,” said Precinct 4 Harris County Commisioner, R. Jack Cagle.
Longoria said it’s all about accuracy over speed.
“Voters depend on us and have confidence in us that we need to be thorough with elections so there’s never a doubt at the end of the night,” said Longoria.
Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia weighed in and said some delays can be unavoidable.
“Delays in election results can be unavoidable because of unexpected problems that occur. However, going forward, we expect that our elections office be extra communicative with the public and anticipate scenarios before they occur. Not getting timely results is unfair to voters and the candidates, and I expect that this will be a one-time glitch rather than a continuance of the reputation Harris County earned when elections were run by Republicans like Stan Stanart.”
The Texas Secretary of State office said it will work to make sure all ballots were handled appropriately, counted validly and that all election laws were followed.