‘Multiple failures’: Texas Secretary of State releases preliminary findings on Harris County election audit

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Texas Secretary of State Jane Nelson has released preliminary findings from the state’s audit of Harris County’s November 2022 election.

“Harris County clearly had multiple failures conducting the election and violated election law for estimating needed ballot paper,” said Secretary Nelson. “Mistakes like these led to a poorly executed election which left many Harris County residents frustrated and may have prevented them from voting. It is important to talk about these issues now in order to address them before the 2024 election cycle.”

Nelson said the findings show problems with voter registration data, failure to provide necessary supplies to polling places, equipment issues and incomplete paperwork. At least 38 polling locations had no voter check-ins for an hour or more, according to Nelson.

Preliminary findings from the audit shows the county’s voter registration system included more than 9,000 more voters than were reported to the statewide voter registration system. The findings also showed almost 3,600 mail ballots were sent to voters but not reported to the state.

RELATED: Legislation abolishing elections administrator position goes into effect: What you should know

The findings also showed the method for determining distribution for ballot paper did not comply with state law and led to a disruption in the voting process and inadequate supplies at some polling locations. The finding also showed Harris County failed to adequately train election judges and clerks resulting in incomplete paperwork and problems with voting system equipment.

As of Sept. 1, there is no longer an elections administration office in Harris County. Legislation passed earlier this year returned the duties to the county clerk and tax assessor-collector. Nelson stressed that her agency is actively working with these offices to address problems found in the audit.

“I’m thankful for the cooperation we are seeing from the current election offices,” Nelson said. “A repeat of these problems is unacceptable for Harris County voters.”

Harris County was selected for an audit as part of legislation passed in 2021 requiring audits of four randomly selected counties for the previous two years.

Under legislation passed earlier this year, the Secretary of State’s office may assume administrative oversight of Harris County elections following complaints from certain stakeholders and a subsequent investigation. The failures identified in the preliminary findings are based on data and documentation provided by Harris County.

Individuals with more information can submit a complaint to the Secretary of State’s Office. You can do so here.


About the Author:

Christian Terry covered digital news in Tyler and Wichita Falls before returning to the Houston area where he grew up. He is passionate about weather and the outdoors and often spends his days off on the water fishing.