Harris County GOP leaders claim voting issues for November 8 election could be intentional

Harris County GOP leaders are upset over how the Nov. 8 election was handled by the current county administration. They received numerous reports of polling locations not set up, machines and scanners broken, and the biggest complaint - the lack of ballot paper. Leaders call it a repeat of the March and May elections and call it a form of voter suppression.

"I’m tired of this crap going on in our county," says Harris County GOP Chair Cindy Siegel. "Voter suppression is when you can’t go into a poll or it’s not open, when you don’t have equipment that works, and when you don’t have the paper to record your ballot."

RELATED: How 2022 midterm election results will affect Harris Co. Commissioner’s Court

The party is also questioning whether the issues were intentional. Their data shows many of the problems were in polling locations with predominately Republican voters. On Tuesday at 3:30 pm, they counted at least 20 polling locations out of ballot paper and 19 of them were in heavy-Republican voter populations.

"We were trying to get historical polls placed, and we were told some of them were in the Spring Branch ISD area," says Siegel. "Senator Bettencourt's office reached out, and they were told they were never asked. I have to question, why does it appear in this day and age where everyone wants to talk about voter suppression, why does it appear that it's in Republican strongholds?"

Officials also brought up the matter of provisional ballots - ballots for voters who show up, and their credentials get flagged upon voting. The early voting ballot board, a bipartisan group, is required to review each ballot to determine if they should count or not.

SUGGESTED: Harris County continuing to examine Election Day issues during 2022 midterms

Andy Taylor is the Harris County GOP legal counsel and represented former Governor George W. Bush in the 2000 Florida election recount. Taylor says the provisional ballots from that day should be separated into two piles: voters who cast their ballots before 7 p.m., and those who voted after 7 p.m. during the extra hour allowed in the county.

"We have to have confidence in our elections," says Taylor. "We want to make sure that every vote counted is legal, and make sure every vote that shouldn’t be counted is not in the count. And the way the election was handled makes that hard to do."

On Wednesday, we asked the Harris County Democratic Party chair, Odus Evbagharu, about the party's take on Tuesday's election problems.

"Clifford Tatum just got to this job two months ago," says Evbagharu. "And we've also got to understand Harris County is a huge county. It's the third-largest county in the state...so there are going to be issues. It's just like running Walmart, Home Depot, or any other big corporation. We're going to do an audit, and see where we got it wrong."

2022 MIDTERMS: Biden says ‘Democrats had a strong night’ as midterm election results come in

State Senator Paul Bettencourt shared a copy of the latest reconciliation form on his Twitter account. As part of the Texas voter integrity law, the form shows that there are different numbers between provisional and absentee ballots.

"The math adds up to be more ballots than voters... negative 6400," says Bettencourt. "That’s a red alert sign for any election administrator that they’ve got an election irregularity in process, and they’re doing nothing about it."

Leah Shah, Harris County Election Administrations' Communications Director, released this statement in regard to the GOP's allegations of targeted Republican polling locations:

"We are currently focused on completing the canvassing process. Once complete we will turn our attention to a post-election assessment and report," says Shah.