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Paxton’s Revenge: Harris County’s Dirty Elections Just Got Cleaner Ahead of 2024

Texas has had a major election problem on its hands for years, and that problem has been Harris County. The county is basically Houston and its suburbs, and like many urban areas across the country, Democrats have hegemonic control over it.

Texans have been complaining about Harris County’s dirty elections for years, but what can you do? The legislature has finally done something, working in conjunction with the Attorney General and Secretary of State’s offices.

Republicans have long known that Harris County has major problems. Good grief, Ted Cruz barely beat Beto O’Rourke in the 2018 Senate race. How could that even happen? Harris County is part of the answer. GOP frustrations were only exacerbated after the disastrous, stolen 2020 election. Donald Trump only defeated Joe Biden by about 600,000 votes.

After the 2020 election, Texas Republicans set about cleaning up their “urban” voting problems. They passed one law that would select four counties at random after every election, in which the Secretary of State’s office would conduct a full audit.

As luck would have it, Harris County was one of the chosen counties. That audit just wrapped up, and it turns out that Harris County/Houston’s elections are just as crooked and dirty as those in places like Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Maricopa County, Arizona.

 

But not anymore. Another state law that was fiercely defended by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton replaced the phony “elections administrator’s” office and placed the elections under the authority of the Harris County clerk’s office. The Houston city attorney’s office fought tooth and nail and took the case all the way to the Texas Supreme Court, but Paxton—and the voters of Texas—prevailed.

As for the audit, the Secretary of State’s office found a bunch of violations of state election laws in the 2022 midterms. One of the “failures” in Harris County looked a lot like the “failures” in Maricopa County, AZ, which allowed the Democrats to steal the governor’s race from Kari Lake. Polling places ran out of supplies. 38 polling locations had no voter check-ins for more than an hour, which is impossible in a city the size of Houston, if all the equipment is working and they have enough supplies on hand.

Delays due to these little supply problems always work in Democrats’ favor on election days. Republican voters actually have jobs they have to get back to, so they get frustrated and leave the polls if they’re delayed too long. Sure, you could chalk that up to incompetence, but how about this next finding?

The Secretary of State’s office found 9,000 phantom voters on the rolls in Harris County. These were “voters” on the Harris County rolls who had never been reported to the statewide voter rolls. They don’t exist on the statewide rolls, but “they” voted in Harris County.

On top of that, Harris County mailed out 3,600 mail-in ballots to voters which they never told the Secretary of State’s office about. If they don’t tell the Secretary of State’s office that they sent a mail-in ballot to a voter, then it’s impossible to know how many ballots were actually sent to that person. Maybe they sent each of them two. Or three. Or eleven.

Let’s assume that all 12,600 of those phantom voters actually did vote in Harris County in 2022. Could that have had an impact on any races?

The answer yes. A lot of them, in fact.

District 134 in Houston, for State Representative, was decided by 5,000 votes (Democrat win). District 135 was decided by 317 votes (Democrat win). District 144 was decided by 4,000 votes (Democrat win). District 145 was decided by 12,854 votes (Democrat win). District 149 was decided by 9,900 votes (Democrat win).

Every city council position for every suburb of Houston, and every mayoral position for each of those suburbs, was decided by well under 12,600 votes. You only have to cheat a little bit in a large population center like Houston to have an impact on all local politics and much of the state legislature.

Hopefully, most of that was put to an end by abolition of the elections administrator’s office in Houston. They may have to do more to fully clean up Houston’s elections, but at least this is a positive start.


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