Harris County elections administrator addresses ‘mishaps’ after several machines down, multiple issues reported at polling locations

HOUSTON – Multiple issues have been reported at polling locations in Harris County this Election Day, according to Harris County Elections.

KPRC 2 has learned that the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center, located at 1475 W. Gray St., was experiencing “serious computer problems” Tuesday morning and only two machines were working at 7 a.m., according to a manager at the location.

The manager told KPRC 2 there were no previous issues reported during early voting.

When KPRC 2 photog Cesar Martinez left the location, a total of 10 out of 50 ballot machines were reportedly working, Martinez said.

A spokesperson for Harris County Elections sent the following statement to KPRC 2 in regard to the issues:

“We are well aware of the issues, and we have had all hands on deck to answer the support lines for our election workers to get things resolved as quickly as possible.”

That afternoon, Harris County Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum addressed concerns and issues that occurred at various locations.

“Some of it has to do with the manner of which it was set up, some of it has to do with perhaps the printers not doing what it was supposed to do,” Tatum said. “But the good news is that voters are voting. I was just informed that we’ve had at least 120,000 today as of noon time and we’d like to remind our voters that the polls are open until 7 p.m.”

Tatum also reminded registered voters that there are 782 locations.

“If you get to one particular location and the line seems to be longer than you care to endure, you can go to Harrisvotes.com and look up the closest polling location, he said.

Tatum also explained that they were working to fix the issues with machines.

“There’s a location at Baker Ripley where the judge had a mishap with a supply box and the key to the machines which then delayed the opening of that location,” he said.

A technician and supplies were sent to the site to help the judge get set up. Tatum said it was then discovered that some of the clerks assigned to work at that location decided not to work that day, so they had to send additional resources and clerks to help out.

“The good news is that while voters are there waiting, there were other locations within the vicinity they could have driven themselves to,” Tatum said. “The long and the short of it is we have to control the things that we can. We need to control our supplies a little better, control our access a little better and those are things we will assess post-election to ensure we get it right the next time.”

Tatum said there were no reports of any voter intimidation or coercion and assured that everyone who wanted to cast a ballot would be able to.

Polls are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you registered to vote by Oct. 11 and meet all other requirements, you have a right to cast a ballot as long as you’re in line at a polling location by 7 p.m.

For more information on polling locations and wait times, go to www.harrisvotes.com.

KPRC 2 received various tips emailed to the newsroom reporting issues at polling locations. Here’s what people are reporting.

3:04 p.m.: League of Women Voters Houston reported polling problems at Bayland Park.

2:06 p.m.: KPRC 2 was told that Melrose Park Community Center has closed for the day. Voters are being turned somewhere else to vote. An emergency caused the closure unrelated to voting.

11:15 a.m.: It was reported that Baker Ripley’s polling station was shut down for at least several hours and at least 100 people were turned away. Operations were up and running by 11:30 a.m.

8:42 a.m.: Tipster says machines down at Sunnyside Multiservice Center. Tipster also complains he has been in line since 5 a.m.

7:53 a.m.: Another tipster complains that machines were down at Sunnyside Multiservice Center.

7:49 a.m.: Tipster says polling location at Deer Park’s Jimmy Burke activity center not open at 7 a.m.

7:49 a.m.: Tipster says voting machines unavailable at Paul Revere Middle School.

7:25 a.m.: Tipster says machines not working at Bering United Methodist Church in Harold Street.

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