HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Midterm Election Day problems last week in Harris County, the most populous county in Texas, were well documented. Now, despite being reelected, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has called for an investigation.
A news release from Abbott’s office on Monday says “voters in Harris County were frustrated by confusion and delays including missing keys, insufficient paper ballots in Republican precincts, staffing problems, and more.”
Abbott said issues in Harris County could be the result of anything "ranging from malfeasance to blatant criminal conduct.”
"I'm calling on the Secretary of State, the Attorney General's Office, and the Texas Rangers to initiate investigations into allegations of improprieties in the way that the 2022 elections were conducted in Harris County," Abbott wrote. "The allegations of election improprieties in our state's largest county may result from anything ranging from malfeasance to blatant criminal conduct. Voters in Harris County deserve to know what happened. Integrity in the election process is essential. To achieve that standard, a thorough investigation is warranted."
Although he won reelection, Abbot did not win Harris County or other major population centers including Travis, Bexar and Dallas counties. Those counties went to Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.
The Houston Chronicle last week reported that more than a dozen Harris County voting locations ran out of paper among other problems.
Texas Secretary of State John Scott on Monday afternoon issued the following statement concerning Abbott's call for an investigation:
“The Texas Secretary of State’s office has received information regarding alleged improprieties in the conduct of election administration in Harris County last week. Under Sec. 31.006 of the Texas Election Code, our office has referred that information to the Texas Attorney General’s office and the Harris County District Attorney’s office for investigation. Simultaneously, Harris County is already subject to the next round of post-election audits required under Sec. 127.351 of the Texas Election Code, so we will be collecting even more information to ultimately provide the public with greater clarity on the root causes of the issues witnessed in Harris County on Election Day.”