May 5, 2023

Houston Chronicle: Chairman Cindy Siegel Letter to the Editor

Regarding “GOP leaders say Harris County’s ballot shortage was targeted at Republicans. Here’s what the data says,”

The Houston Chronicle released multiple articles finding that, according to their research, Harris County voters were not significantly disenfranchised on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022. I couldn’t disagree more.

Whether it was systematic or due to incompetence, the fact remains the same: The actions (or rather inaction) of the Harris County elections administrator may have resulted in Harris County voters potentially not voting. An article in the Chronicle exclaims that one polling location was “one of about 20 polling locations that ran out of paper on Election Day” and then says, “That is a tiny fraction of the 782 polling places across the sprawling county that day.”

Let me offer an alternative point of view: Nearly three percent of polling locations ran out of ballot paper at some point, resulting in voters potentially not casting a ballot. That three percent is consequential when candidates lost by less than one-half of a percentage. “But there’s countywide voting, people turned away could go less than a mile away to vote at another location,” you might think. Tell that to the mom with a car full of kids, only a tiny window in which to vote and no time to hunt down another voting location. Or to the first-time voter who walks out feeling discouraged because they weren’t able to practice a fundamental American right.

If the elections administrator could get it right, we wouldn’t need bills in the state Legislature targeting Harris County elections. But, as we’ve seen repeatedly, they can’t. Someone eventually has to step up and say “enough,” and these bills do just that.

Cindy Siegel, chairman, Harris County Republican Party

View the article in the Houston Chronicle here.