The Texas primary election was destined to be a mess, given the number of restrictions Senate Bill 1 signed back in September 2021 would bring. First, there were reports of a high amount of mail-in ballots being rejected in January. Then, the state placed limits on paper voter registration forms with no system to register online. Finally, Gov. Greg Abbott stated the rejections were due to officials “misinterpreting the law.”
However, the new provisions, including new I.D. requirements, such as driver’s license numbers or the last four digits of a voter’s social security number, are making the process a headache for Texans. In Victoria, Texas alone, they had to send half of the ballots back for being filled out incorrectly.
Some Texas electoral races are hotly contested. For example, the Texas Attorney General race will have a run-off for both parties. Every vote counts, making the latest rounds of complications that much more frustrating.
According to KHOU 11, Harris County Election Administrator Isabel Longoria’s office noted approximately 10,000 mail-in ballots were not added to the unofficial count. Six thousand Democratic and four thousand Republican votes will be added to the final tallies today. The county says it has reached out to the Secretary of State’s office to investigate what happened.
“The oversight occurred between the hours of 1 and 4 a.m. as the political parties that make up the Central Count Committee were reviewing ballots,” Longoria’s office said in a press release.
They said the votes were scanned into the tabulation machines but not transferred, which meant they were not being counted in the unofficial count on Election Night. The votes are set to be added to the final count when the Central Count Committee next meets on Tuesday, according to the elections administrator’s office.
Both parties have responded to the oversight in question. First, from Democratic Party Chair for Harris County, Odus Evbagharu:
In response to the oversight, Democratic Party Chair for Harris County, Odus Evbagharu said, “I have spoken to the Election Administrators office this morning to share we must rectify this mistake immediately, understanding the urgency of ensuring every vote is counted and voice is heard. We expect action to be taken quickly. Voters should know the Harris County Democratic Party is actively monitoring the situation.”
Then from Harris County GOP Chairman Cindy Siegel:
“It’s extremely concerning that after it was thought the ballot count was concluded early Thursday morning, we are now finding out the count did not include a significant number of votes. It is disappointing that we learned these votes were not counted through the media rather than directly from Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria.
“Every voter regardless of party should be able to have confidence that their vote has been properly counted. Unfortunately, this is another example of the serious mismanagement of Lina Hidalgo’s unqualified Elections Administrator. Isabel Longoria owes all Harris County voters an explanation.” - Harris County GOP Chairman Cindy Siegel.