A new 10-minute video by investigative reporter Wayne Dolcefino shows heat maps of Republican-leaning areas in Harris County and where voting problems occurred in the November 2022 elections. Superimposing one on top of the other shows that virtually all of the areas running out of ballot paper occurred in Republican strongholds.
County Officials Still Stonewalling Document Requests
Dolcefino filed a lawsuit earlier this year because of Harris County’s refusal to provide public records relating to the election. Gallery-Furniture-owner Jim McIngvale is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
A computer expert named Russ Long from the oil and gas industry painstakingly pieced together the maps using data from other sources. Long began by sorting out the addresses of people who voted in Republican, but not Democratic primaries in 1150 voting precincts in Harris County. From that he identified the Republican-leaning precincts.
Paper Galore, But Not Evenly Distributed
Long is also a precinct captain in Cypress, TX. When he picked up ballot paper, he could immediately see that it wasn’t enough. Long told them he needed double the amount, but was told no more was available – despite the county having ordered 4 million sheets, far more than the number of registered voters in the county.
HarrisVotes.com shows that approximately 830,000 people voted early in person or by mail. About another 1.1 million voted on Election Day. Only the race for governor had more than 1.1 million ballots cast on Election Day and that total was 1,102,418. So there should have been two million extra sheets of paper.
Yet 121 polling places ran out of paper. And look where virtually all of them were!
Despite the problems, County Judge Lina Hidalgo, who chairs the Elections Commission, has not called a meeting of the commission since November, according to Dolcefino. Nor has the county released election records requested by Dolcefino under the Texas Public Information Act.
“The release of this information related to our election is way past due,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey.
“What’s wrong with sunshine? Shine the light on it,” said McIngvale.
Early Voting Starts Next Month for Next Election
It will take months to resolve these issues in the courts or the legislature. Dolcefino emphasizes the need for full disclosure now. We have another election in May. Early voting starts on April 24th, in a little more than a month. And we’ve had five months of stonewalling since the last election.
“None of the Democratic-leaning precincts came close to running out of ballots,” said Dolcefino.
Long added, “There would have been riots in the streets if they had.”
The problems may be worse than Dolcefino is reporting. For instance, the map above shows only one polling place in Kingwood that ran out of ballot paper. But I personally know of at least two.
And Dolcefino has not yet even reported on the problems with handicapped voting. Reliable sources tell me of technology problems countywide associated with curbside voting for handicapped people. Again, I personally witnessed those at multiple locations.
Elections Administrator Hired Despite Reported Problems on Last Job
According to Dolcefino’s video, Clifford Tatum, the Elections Administrator, reportedly ran into problems with a similar job he held in Washington D.C.
Previously, the people who ran Harris County elections were elected themselves. Hidalgo changed that, however. She created an office of Elections Administration with an appointed head. Tatum is Hidalgo’s second head of that office. The first resigned after problems with an earlier election.
Many races on last November’s ballot were decided by just a few hundred votes. Without actual records, it’s impossible to tell whether ballot issues skewed election results.
We need to get to the bottom of these problems sooner rather than later. If Hidalgo has nothing to hide, why hide it?
Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/10/2023
2019 Days since Hurricane Harvey
The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.