Harris County GOP officials criticize Isabel Longoria, alleging a failure to properly manage primary election

Democratic leadership says, “We have an opportunity to get better.”

HOUSTON – Harris County Republican Party Chairman Cindy Siegel is joining Texas State Senator Paul Bettencourt, HCRP Legal Counsel Steve Mitby and the Party’s Legal Team to discuss the widespread problems and legal action addressing what they claim is a failure of Election Administrator Isabel Longoria to properly manage the primary election.

Siegel says they have received countless complaints on a myriad of reported issues, including voting machines that were not delivered or delivered late Tuesday morning; machines that were not operational; election workers not adequately trained; the wrong paper ballot size being delivered to certain polls and the wrong ballots being delivered to some voters.

Siegel called the matter a “fiasco,” and is placing blame on Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, saying Hidalgo’s “unelected, unaccountable elections administrator who is tasked with managing our elections and was sold to voters as a way to make our elections more efficient in Harris County. Spiegel feels Longoria did not accomplish what she was in charge of overseeing.

Sen. Paul Bettencourt also felt that Longoria did a horrible job. He spoke to KPRC 2′s Mario Diaz about what was not, and should have been, done.

On a scale of one to 10, Bettencourt rated this experience a one.

“This is the worst election that I’ve seen from a central processing count unit that’s being run by an election administrator or county clerk in my whole history of looking at elections,” Bettencourt said.

[WATCH: Raw video of KPRC 2′s Mario Diaz and Sen. Paul Bettencourt]

KPRC 2 Investigates Reporter Mario Diaz interviews Texas Sen. Paul Bettencourt about issues on Election Day, March 1. Bettencourt says Harris County just can't seem to get it right.

On Wednesday, Siegel released a statement which read, in part:

“Yesterday the Elections Administrator said during a conference call with both political parties that she would not be able to meet the 24-hour deadline for vote count because it would take at least 500 hours to conduct the count and she needed both parties to agree to extending the deadline.

“Upon the conclusion of Early Voting, there were over 1,000 ‘damaged ballots. However, other counties across the country using the same machines have not experienced the problems that Harris County has faced. Today it is still not clear based upon the reports from voters how many actual ‘damaged’ ballots resulted from the Election Day.

“The Elections Administrator is now stating that they will complete the count by the 7 pm deadline tonight. However, the Harris County Republican Party still has serious concerns about the number of voter complaints of wrong ballots being issued and damaged ballots from our voters and election workers that need to be addressed before the vote is finalized. To that extent we will take what steps we deem necessary to ensure the integrity of the election process and that these serious issues are addressed prior to the May 24th Primary Runoff.

“What happened during this primary in terms of running an election is not acceptable. Although the Republican turnout showed the commitment and motivation of our voters, our number one priority is to have an election where our voters can cast their vote at a functioning polling location and our election workers and volunteers can do their job. Our goal has always been to ensure voters have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote and that every vote is properly recorded and counted. That is why we believe there needs to be significant changes in how Harris County conducts elections going forward before another vote is cast.”


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