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Texas Democrat DA Joins Calls for Investigation Into Harris County’s Midterm Elections

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R. G. Jones
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Texas Democrat DA Joins Calls for Investigation Into Harris County’s Midterm Elections

By Jana Pruet

 

November 16, 2022 Updated: November 17, 2022
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Harris County’s Democrat District Attorney Kim Ogg has requested the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) to investigate the midterm election in her county, following voter complaints of delayed openings at polling places, paper ballot shortages, staffing shortages, and other issues.

Ogg sent a letter to TDPS Executive Director Steven McGraw requesting assistance with the investigation into allegations of possible criminal conduct during the Nov. 8 elections.

“The Harris County District Attorney’s Office received a referral from the Secretary of State concerning alleged irregularities with the latest Harris County elections that potentially may include criminal conduct,” Ogg wrote on Monday.

“Please consider this my official request to engage the Texas rangers to assist my office in conducting the investigation into these allegations.”

Gov. Abbott’s Call for Election Investigation

The Democrat DA’s request came on the heels of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s call for an investigation into how the county runs its elections.

“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 said in a statement.

“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.”

Abbott won reelection by 11 percentage points but lost in Harris County to Democrat Beto O’Rourke.

Some Polling Locations Forced to Halt Voting

Judge Elizabeth Curcek testified on Tuesday during Commissioner’s Court that her polling location in Spring was forced to halt voting due to a shortage of ballots despite multiple requests for supplies.

“I requested ballots twice: once at 1:31 p.m. and 3:30. Never got any until 7:45 p.m.,” Curcek said, according to a news report on the Harris County GOP website. “At 6:10 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. we turned away over 250 voters, and then in the process, we had to call the cops because we were harassed by voters.”

“You put us in an unsafe position by not having enough ballots.”

Harris County Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum said that his office is “currently reviewing issues and claims made about Election Day and will include these findings in a post-elections report to be shared promptly with the Harris County Elections Commission and the County Commissioner Court.”

“The Harris County Elections Administrator’s Office is fully committed to transparency regarding the processes and procedures implemented for the November 8, 2022, Midterm Elections,” Tatum said in a statement to The Epoch Times.

GOP Files Lawsuit Against Local Officials

Harris County GOP officials have filed a lawsuit against local election officials for alleged systemic issues with how the county runs its elections.

“We’re doing this in order to shed light on what has been happening, how Harris County actually runs their elections,” the county’s GOP Chair Cindy Siegel at a press conference.

“What we’ve seen over the past year, instead of it being just a few incidents of breakdowns and how the process has been run, we’ve seen what’s turned out to be a systemic cancer in how Harris County actually runs its elections.”

 ‘Political Theater’

Harris County Democratic Party Chair Odus Evbagharu described Abbott’s call for an investigation as “yet another example of the political theater we’ve come to expect from our state leader.”

“It’s almost laughable that Abbott has demanded this investigation since he actually sent a team to oversee the Harris County elections last week. Was Abbott’s team ineffective? Will Abbott be investigating himself?” Evbagharu said in a statement.

“Our biggest concern about this is that Abbott and other GOP state leaders are trying to criminalize election workers.”

Credible Complaints Require Investigation: Ogg

“Free and fair elections are the bedrock of our democracy,” the Democrat Ogg added in the debate on Wednesday.

“When we get credible complaints of election irregularities, we are statutorily required to investigate. That’s why we’ve called for the assistance of the Texas Rangers. The results of their investigation will be turned over to a Harris County grand jury.

“We do this regardless of the party affiliation of the complainants. After the 2020 election, we charged three Democrats and two Republicans. It is my duty as the elected District Attorney to follow the evidence and follow the law, and I will,” she said.


   
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