Texas Officials Probe Election Irregularities In Harris County
While tabulation issues and long lines in Maricopa County, Arizona, received considerable attention in last week’s midterm elections, similar problems in another populous county were not so widely reported by national news outlets.
This week, however, Texas District Attorney Kim Ogg launched a probe into serious claims originating in Harris County.
Specifically, polling locations across the county — the state’s most populous and home to Houston — reported a shortage of ballot paper and experienced other troubling irregularities.
Despite her Democratic Party alignment, Ogg’s concerns echo those of high-profile Republicans who believe that the recent election was plagued by issues that potentially altered the results of close races.
“Free and fair elections are the bedrock of our democracy,” she said. “When we get credible complaints of election irregularities, we are statutorily required to investigate.”
As part of her investigation, the district attorney has called on the Texas Rangers for assistance.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott previously expressed his own misgivings about the election, suggesting that reports his office had received included “anything ranging from malfeasance to blatant criminal conduct.”
He tasked a number of state agencies and officials with pursuing an exhaustive probe into complaints about the county’s election process.
Despite his lopsided victory over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, the incumbent governor racked up fewer votes than his rival in Harris County. Similarly, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton came up short in the county but easily won his re-election bid.
“Voters in Harris County deserve to know what happened,” Abbott said. “Integrity in the election process is essential. To achieve that standard, a thorough investigation is warranted.”
The local Republican Party filed a lawsuit against the county and its elections administrator over allegations that early voting results were released too soon and thus violated applicable state laws.
For his part, however, Harris County Democratic Party Chair Odus Evbagharu believes the entire ordeal — including Ogg’s investigation — amounts to nothing more than a partisan ploy. He asserted that the Democratic district attorney is “following in the footsteps of Gov. Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton and the Harris County Republican Party” in pursuing the claims of countywide polling irregularities.