Harris County DA Kim Ogg launches investigation into county’s elections issues

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has called for the assistance of the Texas Rangers to investigate the county’s election issues from Nov. 8, two days after Texas Governor Greg Abbott called for an investigation into the widespread election problems.

Ogg said when the DA’s Office receives complaints of election irregularities, they are required to investigate. She said the results of the Texas Rangers’ investigation will be turned over to a grand jury.

Abbott stated that the county experienced delays, missing keys, insufficient paper ballots, staffing problems, and more.

READ: Gov. Greg Abbott calls for investigation into election problems; Harris County GOP files lawsuit against county and Elections Administrator

“I’m calling on the Secretary of State, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Texas Rangers to initiate investigations into allegations of improprieties in the way that the 2022 elections were conducted in Harris County,” said Gov. Abbott. “The allegations of election improprieties in our state’s largest county may result from anything ranging from malfeasance to blatant criminal conduct. Voters in Harris County deserve to know what happened. Integrity in the election process is essential. To achieve that standard, a thorough investigation is warranted.”

Following the governor’s call for an investigation, the Harris County GOP announced a lawsuit against Harris County and Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum, alleging that thousands of voters were turned away from voting for various issues.

The most egregious issue, according to party leaders, is that at least 23 polling locations ran out of ballot paper on Election Day. Other problems alleged in the lawsuit include issuing second ballots to voters who had problems scanning their first ballot and posting early voting results before polls officially closed in the extended hour of voting, which they claim violates state law.

According to the Texas Secretary of State’s Office, seven state election inspectors were in Harris County on Election Day. They are currently finalizing their inspector reports, which aren’t yet available. A spokesperson said it’s standard for the state agency to have election inspectors stationed in counties across the state.

In response to the governor’s call for an investigation, the spokesperson said the Secretary of State’s Office has initiated the investigation by providing information about alleged improprieties to appropriate investigators, including the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

The Republican Party praised Abbott’s call for an investigation.

“If the public official that ran this election in Harris County have nothing to hide they should readily invite this investigation. If on the other hand they try to stiff arm the investigation and put up a fight that tells you all you need to know,” said Andy Taylor, election lawyer for the Harris County Republican Party. “This election isn’t just simple and gross incompetence. It’s actually risen to the level of criminal conduct.”

The Harris County Democratic Party called it another example of “political theater.”

“Quite frankly, DA Ogg should be focusing on convicting cop killers rather than being a general counsel for Greg Abbott and the Harris County Republican Party. This is very disappointing coming from Kim Ogg,” said Odus Evbagharu, Chairman for the Harris County Democratic Party. “I think a lot of us are quite frankly tired of her using her office to score some political points against elected officials.”

Ogg also noted that the investigation has nothing to do with party affiliation and more so about the complainants.

KPRC2 Legal Analyst Brian Wice said people should wait to see what the investigation produces before rushing to judgement

“Some folks would say due diligence others would say it’s bowing to political pressure. Look, I think that the calls for investigations and the fact that Kim Ogg has acquiesced in moving forward is predictable,” Wice said. “The question is, is this the highest and best use of the Texas Rangers, the elite force of investigators in this great state?”

Ogg released the following statement:

Free and fair elections are the bedrock of our democracy. When we get credible complaints of election irregularities, we are statutorily required to investigate. That’s why we’ve called for the assistance of the Texas Rangers. The results of their investigation will be turned over to a Harris County grand jury. We do this regardless of the party affiliation of the complainants. After the 2020 election, we charged three Democrats and two Republicans. It is my duty as the elected District Attorney to follow the evidence and follow the law, and I will.

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