Harris County Officials Spend $31 Million in Taxpayer Dollars on Election, Ignore Evidence and Affidavits of Potential Election Fraud and Irregularities
HOUSTON, Texas – Throughout early voting and the November general election, the Harris County Republican Party reported various incidents of potential voting fraud and irregularities to Harris County elections officials and District Attorney Ogg, who declined to investigate or respond to the incidents. Instead, a partisan four-member group of Harris County officials including District Attorney Ogg, released a report on December 17 claiming election fraud did not exist in Harris County. Meanwhile, polls show a majority of American voters believe there was fraud in the November election.
This year, Harris County officials implemented significant changes to the election process, which also came with poor planning, inadequate training, voter confusion, and unprecedented spending. In total, Harris County spent about $31 million in taxpayer dollars on this year's election – more than seven times as much as it spent in 2016.
"The pride that local Democrat elected officials have in spending $31 million in taxpayer dollars on the November election and in their claim that they did not find any cases of election fraud is unbelievable," said Harris County Republican Party Chairman Cindy Siegel. "The reality is, District Attorney Kim Ogg and Democrat Harris County officials have ignored and dismissed the sworn and notarized affidavits filed by election clerks and poll watchers regarding potential election fraud and irregularities. Every Harris County voter should be concerned, regardless of their political party, about the lack of election controls and oversight during the November election, because every fraudulent vote that is cast invalidates the vote of an eligible voter. The way Harris County officials have handled the voting process and refused to investigate potential fraud and irregularities threatens the right to free, fair, and secure elections for all voters."
"Whenever an organization out-runs its headlights, you end up in a wreck," said Harris County Republican Party Ballot Security Committee Chairman Alan Vera. "For the November 3, 2020 General Election, the office of the County Clerk out-ran its training and infrastructure headlights. This election was a wreck."
The Harris County Republican Party Ballot Security Committee is responsible for recruitment and training of poll watchers, election inspectors, and other officers and ballot security personnel to protect the integrity and veracity of the election process. The Ballot Security Committee held an election debriefing on December 16, during which election workers and poll watchers reported the frequency of issues at polling locations across the County.
Below are a few examples of incidents the Ballot Security Committee reported throughout early voting and the general election:
- Poll watchers were wrongly denied access to observe the work of the Signature Verification Committee.
- At the direction of the Harris County Clerk’s office, election workers were improperly trained on how to cancel mail ballots being surrendered by voters who decided to vote in person. Tens of thousands of improperly cancelled mail ballots were floating in the system and potentially submitted as eligible votes.
- Because of high turnout and confusion, official election (paper) records were piling up at the early voting locations. From about October 14 through October 21, the County Clerk’s office sent temporary “couriers” in their private vehicles, with no ID establishing their position, to collect critical election documents from the 122 early voting locations – including all surrendered mail ballots, mail ballot cancellation forms, statement of residence forms, provisional affidavits, and reasonable impediment declarations. There was no effort to count the number of each type of document surrendered and there was no transfer document signed by the releasing and receiving authorities.
- Poor planning and inadequate training created confusion at the new drive-thru voting centers. Improperly trained election workers failed to reconnect the e-slate interface to the main JBC computer after every single voter. When multiple voters were in a single vehicle, election workers instead fetched a new access code for each voter and allowed them to pass the e-slate around in the car, leading to thousands of votes cast on the e-slate machines not transferring to the JBC machines. All the votes from the drive-thru voting centers had to be extracted from the e-slates and loaded onto a temporary memory device. These counts were presented to the Central Count team without the opportunity to observe the count or verify the accuracy. Under protest from HCRP, a team of lawyers witnessed a recount of the e-slate votes on Election Day, which was over 1,800 votes different from the count presented by the County Clerk to the central count team.
- Drive-thru voting centers also experienced problems with ballot styles. When the e-slate interface was passed around to different voters in the same car, the only ballot loaded on the e-slate was the ballot for the first person to vote in that car. Every other person in that car who voted was served the same ballot regardless of their individual residential addresses, precinct numbers, House District numbers, etc. E- slates were rotated around at each location, making it impossible to determine exactly how many voters were given the wrong ballot style and voted in races for which they were not eligible.