Texas governor calls for investigation into Houston-area elections

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Monday called for an investigation into “widespread problems” in Houston-area elections during the midterms.

“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 said in a statement.

The Republican governor, who defeated Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke last week, called on the Texas secretary of state, the state attorney general and the Texas Rangers “to initiate investigations into allegations of improprieties in the ay that the 2022 elections were conducted in Harris County.”

A number of polling locations in Harris County allegedly failed to open on time on Election Day, which spurred the Texas Civil Rights Project and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas to file an emergency lawsuit — and the county’s 782 polling places were ordered to stay open an hour past their typical closing time.

Cliff Tatum, the Harris County elections administrator, said in a statement Monday that the office is “fully committed to transparency” around the election.

“The 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,” he added.

Abbott’s office said Monday that “voters in Harris County were frustrated by confusion and delays including missing keys, insufficient paper ballots in Republican precincts, staffing problems, and more.”

As Republicans grapple with unexpected midterm losses, some have raised election concerns. In Arizona, GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has called the state’s elections system a “laughingstock” and accused officials of intentionally slowing down the process.

Bill Gates, the election chief in Arizona’s most populous county, has called Lake’s criticism “offensive” and blamed the delay in results largely on the record number of ballots dropped off on Election Day.

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