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Secretary Nelson Releases Harris County Audit Preliminary Findings

Multiple issues and need for better training identified

October 19, 2023
Contact: Alicia Pierce
512-463-6116

AUSTIN — Today, Texas Secretary of State Jane Nelson released preliminary findings (PDF) from the audit of the November 2022 election in Harris County.

“Harris County clearly had multiple failures conducting the election and violated election law for estimating needed ballot paper. Mistakes like these led to a poorly executed election which left many Harris County residents frustrated and may have prevented them from voting.” said Secretary Nelson. “It is important to talk about these issues now in order to address them before the 2024 election cycle.”

The preliminary findings show problems with voter registration data, failure to provide necessary supplies to polling places, equipment issues and incomplete paperwork. At least 38 polling locations had no voter check-ins for an hour or more.

Some key findings:

  • Harris County’s voter registration system included more than 9,000 more voters than were reported to the statewide voter registration system.
  • Almost 3,600 mail ballots were sent to voters but not reported to the state.
  • The method for determining distribution for ballot paper did not comply with state law and led to a disruption in the voting process and inadequate supplies at some polling locations.
  • Harris County failed to adequately train election judges and clerks resulting in incomplete paperwork and problems with voting system equipment.

As of September 1, 2023, there is no longer an elections administration office in Harris County. Legislation passed earlier this year returned the duties to the county clerk and tax assessor-collector. Nelson stressed that her agency is actively working with these offices to address problems found in the audit.

“I’m thankful for the cooperation we are seeing from the current election offices,” said Nelson. “A repeat of these problems is unacceptable for Harris County voters.”

Harris County was selected for an audit as part of legislation passed in 2021 requiring audits of four randomly selected counties for the previous two years.

Under legislation passed earlier this year, the Secretary of State’s office may assume administrative oversight of Harris County elections following complaints from certain stakeholders and a subsequent investigation. The failures identified in the preliminary findings are based on data and documentation provided by Harris County. Additional findings may be included in the comprehensive report as new information becomes available.

Individuals with more information can submit a complaint to the Secretary of State’s Office using the online election complaint form (PDF).

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