Harris County clerk announces resignation, citing coronavirus, health concerns

Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman announced she will resign from her position due to the coronavirus and personal health concerns. Her last day will be May 31. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman announced she will resign from her position due to the coronavirus and personal health concerns. Her last day will be May 31. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)

Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman announced she will resign from her position due to the coronavirus and personal health concerns. Her last day will be May 31. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)

Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman announced plans to resign by the end of May, citing concerns about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and her own personal health issues.

In a May 9 news release, Trautman said she submitted her letter of resignation to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.

"After much deliberation and discussion with my family and physician, I am resigning from my position as Harris County Clerk due to personal health concerns," Trautman said in a statement. "Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, my age and underlying health issues, I do not feel I can safely continue to carry out my duties as Harris County clerk."

Trautman, a Democrat, was elected as Harris County Clerk in November 2018 after defeating Republican incumbent Stan Stanart with 54.6% of the vote. As county clerk, her responsibilities include reporting and maintaining court records, running the county and state elections and providing a variety of other services, ranging from marriage licenses to birth and death certificates.

During her time as county clerk, Trautman said she has worked to make the voting process simpler, an effort that is highlighted by a shift to use of voting centers in 2018, allowing residents to vote at any polling place on election day rather as opposed to having to vote at their specific precinct.


Trautman faced criticism after some polling places saw long lines during March 2020 primary elections. At the time, she said she would work to increase the number of early voting and election day polling locations in advance of the November general election.

More recently, Trautman secured a $12 million investment from county commissioners that was slated to be used in part to expand access to mail-in ballots for July 14 runoff elections and November general elections. Although the issue continues to play out in a Texas courtroom, Trautman said the county needs to be prepared to potentially provide mail-in ballots to any voter who fears contracting COVID-19, a position that has been backed by the Harris County Attorney's Office.

As of May 9, the clerk's office had received 74,769 requests for mail-in ballots for the July runoffs, an increase of about 7,000 from the number of requests received before the March primaries.

In a statement, Hidalgo thanked Trautman for her service and lauded her efforts to ensure safe voting, including voting by mail if necessary, amid the coronavirus.

"Dr. Trautman embodies the spirit of the community she has served," Hidalgo said. "In her brief time as County Clerk, Dr. Trautman has fought to make it easier for citizens to participate in elections and make their voices heard."

Hidalgo said Trautman's replacement will be selected by the Commissioners Court, which meets next May 19. The county clerk in Harris County serves a four-year term, and the next election will take place in 2022.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.