According to election officials, about 10,000 mail ballots were tabulated but not counted in Texas’ most populous county on the day of last week’s election, which will add to the delay in determining some victors in the nation’s first primary of the 2022 election cycle.
Officials in Harris County, which covers Houston, said late on Saturday that an “oversight” led to the ballots not being counted.
The votes recovered – 6,000 Democratic and 4,000 Republican – were set to be added to the final vote tallies on Tuesday.
“While the votes were scanned into our tabulation computer, they were not transferred and counted as part of the unofficial final results as they should have been,” said the Harris County Elections Office in a statement.
Texas’ March 1 primary signified the first statewide election in this midterm year amid the new voting laws in the state.
The office continued in another statement: “We are focused on ensuring that every ballot cast is accounted for through this canvassing process. We will continue to be transparent in that process through our updates but as you can imagine it is most critical that everyone on our team stay focused and commit all of their time to the task at hand. We will be discussing at commissioners court and that will be an opportunity for broadcast to hear from our office.”
Both the county’s Republican and Democratic party chairs said they expected the issue to be resolved and that voters should have confidence in elections.
“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,” said Harris County GOP Chair Cindy Siegel.
The county’s Democratic Party Chair Odus Evbagharu expressed similar sentiments in a statement, saying, “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.”
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