Harris County clerk who oversees elections resigns due to personal health reasons

Harris County Clerk Dr. Diane Trautman discusses the Countywide Polling Place Program Friday.

HOUSTON – Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman is stepping down. She submitted a letter of resignation to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and the Commissioners Court to be effective May 31, according to a release.

“After much deliberation and discussion with my family and physician, I am resigning from my position as Harris County Clerk due to personal health concerns,” Trautman said in the release. “Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, my age, and my underlying health issues, I don’t feel I can safely continue to carry out my duties as Harris County Clerk.”

Since January 2019, Trautman has worked to make the voting process simpler, continually anticipating challenges, and addressing public concerns to ensure the election infrastructure remains secure, per the release.

“I am proud of what we have accomplished during my short term in office and am so thankful for my amazing staff for their commitment and support,” she said. “It’s been an absolute honor in the privilege to serve the citizens of Harris County.”

After the March elections, Trautman took “full responsibility” for the long lines and wait times that forced some voters to wait more than six hours to cast their ballots.

As the Democrat who oversees elections in Harris County, she apologized to voters affected by the excessively long lines experienced at voting sites serving mostly black and Hispanic communities.

Hidalgo accepted the Trautman’s resignation and issued the following statement:

Dr. Trautman embodies the spirit of the community she has served. In her brief time as County Clerk, Dr. Trautman has fought to make it easier for citizens to participate in elections and make their voices heard. At the very first Commissioners Court meeting after we were both inaugurated, she led the charge to allow citizens to vote at any polling place on Election Day, regardless of their assigned precinct. She expanded voting locations to include colleges and universities and expanded hours and early voting opportunities for all. Now, during the Coronavirus crisis, she has led the push for mail ballot voting, securing a $12 million commitment from Commissioners Court to ensure residents can vote safely, by mail if necessary, or at the polling location. Commissioners Court will appoint her replacement. In the meantime, on behalf of the residents of Harris County, I thank her for serving our community with pride, dedication, and an ambitious agenda.

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