HOUSTON – The Harris County Elections Administrator’s Communication Director, Leah Shah denies claims brought by Harris County Republican Party that the cameras watching the vote count were turned off.
“The livestream was never down. We did transition the feed from YouTube onto a more permanent server,” Shah writes in a statement. She adds that a message was posted on the livestream alerting users to a redirect link.
The Harris County Republican Party filed an emergency motion claiming the cameras were off. In the motion, the Party seeks three things; collect Republican Party General Primary Election precinct election records, supervise the completion of count for the Republican Party, and order Election Administrator Isabel Longoria to appear in court regarding the status of the election count.
“On noon on Friday, I went to look at the cameras and they were off, and they haven’t come on since,” said Alan D. Vera with the Republican Party Ballot Security Committee. “All three camera feeds have been off since Friday.”
Shah, in a statement, said the livestreams were never down and users had issues they are able to call the office.
“Additionally, the links on our website were always working,” the statement said. “Lastly, even if the livestream were to go down, the cameras record everything onto a backup server that is saved and can be produced.”
The motion comes as fallout from the primary election continues.
The Harris County Democratic Party Chair Odus Evbagharu says SB1 plays a role in how the night of the primary went.
“From my understanding, these 10,000 votes and some change was human error. Now imagine trying to catch it, do all these things. These folks hadn’t had rest, these are paid volunteers. You had an election administrator’s office who had no rest.”
Both parties point to the new election law for different reasons.
“Yes, we had rules in SB1 to prevent this,” said Bettencourt. “The reason why the 10,000 votes were found was because of the reconciliation language that forced the administrator here [to see] that she was 10,000 ballots short.”
Officials at the Election Administrator’s Office said after several checks, they found that 10,181 mail-in ballots (6,044 Democratic and 4,137 Republican) had been scanned into the voting computer.
Evbagharu says during the canvassing process, those votes would have been discovered and counted.
“We’ve got to tell the whole story about this reconciliation form. It’s signed at a time when all the votes haven’t been counted,” he said. “There’s a reason we have the 10-day canvassing period. Now, they’re saying there are provisions of the bill that helped find these errors. Come on, these things have always happened.”
Election Administrator full statement:
“This claim is incorrect. The livestream was never down. We did transition the feed from YouTube onto a more permanent server and in doing so we duplicated the stream on Youtube for an additional four days with a message displayed notifying users that there was a redirect link (see below). Additionally, the links on our website were always working. If the user somehow missed the message you see below, they would have been able to call our office for guidance or find it directly on our website here. Lastly, even if the livestream were to go down, the cameras record everything onto a backup server that is saved and can be produced.” – Leah Shah, Communications Director, Harris County Election Administrator