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The Texas Secretary of State’s Office notified Harris County officials last week that a “contingent of inspectors” will observe the county’s election procedures from the beginning of early voting until the polls close on Election Day.
“We will be sending a contingent of inspectors to the county to observe Central Count during the November 2022 election to ensure that Harris County establishes appropriate procedures and follows them,” states the letter.
The oversight is warranted due to alarming results from an audit concerning the 2020 elections. According to Secretary of State John B. Scott, the “ongoing audit of Harris County has revealed serious breaches of proper elections records management in the handling of Mobile Ballot Boxes (MBBs) during the November 2020 General Election.”
Furthermore, the conclusion of the investigation conducted by the Forensic Audit Division uncovered multiple election violations dating back to 2020.
For example, “at least 14 polling locations where MBBs1 included in the Tally program do not have proper chain-of-custody,” the release added. Additionally, it claimed, “Pollbook and provisional voting data provided by Harris County do not match the number of cast vote records (CVRs) on certain MBBs.” Also, “Harris County does not appear to have maintained systems to read the MBBs or otherwise recover CVRs stored within,” the press release stated. Failure to do so would put Harris County at odds with state and federal law.
As a result of the inspection, “The Texas Office of Attorney General has agreed to dispatch a task force to Harris County that will be available at all times during the election period in order to immediately respond to any legal issues identified by Secretary of State, inspectors, poll watchers, or voters.”
The proactive measure, however, is not the first action made by the Lone Star State to ensure election security. In June, a Texas woman pleaded guilty to 26 counts of felony charges regarding voter fraud.
The Texas Secretary of State’s Office has extended an open invitation to Harris County for comments and concerns.