HOUSTON – Houston businessman Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale has filed a lawsuit over issues with the 2022 midterm elections in Harris County.
McIngvale made the announcement Tuesday alongside media consultant, Wayne Dolcefino.
According to a news release, the lawsuit was filed as a way to “force transparency in our elections.” The lawsuit alleges the case is about providing the public with access to information to “ensure trust and confidence” in Harris County elections.
The lawsuit, which was filed against the Harris County Elections Administrator’s Office, alleges the office refused to turn over public records related to the November 2022 election in Harris County.
During the news conference, McIngvale said he wanted answers on whether issues experienced by voters in the recent elections were a result of “incompetence, negligence, corruption, or a combination of all three.”
“So it’s real simple, the people of Harris County are concerned about this election,” McIngvale said. “It’s concerning to me that Dallas County, Travis County, Bexar County can all have the election done Tuesday night at 10 o’clock. Votes counted over, Harris County continues the next day until 6 o’clock almost a for full 24 hours later.”
McIngvale continued, saying, “This is not about political parties. This is about the election process. We want to make the election process fair for everybody because we firmly believe that every Texan should have a right to vote and their vote should be counted.”
The lawsuit petition highlights a number of issues that Harris County has had in past elections, including voting machine malfunctions, paper jams, and long lines. The same issues were seen in the 2022 elections, but the lawsuit highlights a new issue: “A dozen or more polling places ran out of ballots at some point during the election day,” according to documents.
The lawsuit highlights that several polling sites didn’t open on time, prompting a judge to extend voting by an hour. The extension was then overruled by the Texas Supreme Court.
After the elections, the Harris County Elections Administration said that issues such as short staffing, malfunctioning voting machines, and a lack of supplies were the cause of some issues on Election Day. The report also said that the United States Postal Service did not move the mail-in ballots quickly enough, and the Astros World Series parade caused school district closures that reportedly resulted in presiding judges at voting centers located in schools to delay set-up for the election.
The following documents that McIngvale requested include:
- PDF copies of the original detailed phone records for Harris County Elections administrator Clifford Tatum (request includes text and phone messages) and e-mail communications received
- Any documents dealing with maintenance issues with any voting machines on Nov. 8, 2022
- Documents detailing the amount of ballot paper originally provided on election day in 2022 along with a document detailing the number of voters who voted at each precinct in the 2020 election
- Complaints regarding the election to Harris County Election’s Administrator’s Office or Judge Line Hidalgo’s Office between Nov. 8, 2022, and now
- List of polling locations for the Harris County 2020 and 2022 elections and any emails sent or received, including attachments by Tatum regarding the Secretary of State audit of the 2022 election
- Any emails, including attachments by Tatum, regarding the maintenance of polling machines, ballot paper supplies, and/or addition or removal of polling locations between May 1, 2022, and Nov. 8, 2022.
Nadia Hakim, deputy director of Communications and Voter Outreach of Harris County Elections, released this statement to KPRC 2 concerning this story:
“Since the lawsuits filed starting in November and more recently on January 6th, the Elections Administrator’s Office has and will continue to follow the law and Texas Election Code. The office has responded with transparency to two audit requests from the state, and has released an assessment on the November 2022 election.
“The office has readily responded to public information requests not requiring documents subject to the litigation. Any request that involves information involved in litigation has been sent to the Attorney General for an opinion, and both the Harris County GOP and Harris County Democratic Party are copied on these requests.
“According to the Public Information Act, the Attorney General’s office has 45 working days from the day after the request to respond. As of today, the office has not received an opinion on how to proceed with these particular public information requests.
‘Any suggestion that the Harris County Elections Administrator’s Office lacks transparency is false.”