Texas secretary of state refutes Harris County clerk’s claims that state caused election results delay

Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman
Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman hosted a press conference following election day to explain the 12-hour delay in reports (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)

Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman hosted a press conference following election day to explain the 12-hour delay in reports (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)

An explanation for the 12-hour delay in Harris County election results grew more complicated Nov. 6.



The Texas Secretary of State Director of Elections Keith Ingram explicitly denied Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman’s claims that a state directive was responsible for lengthy delays in election reporting, an email exchange obtained by Community Impact Newspaper on Nov. 6 shows.



Trautman has repeatedly said both in written statements and direct correspondence with reporters that the Harris County election reporting process was complicated by a last-minute directive from Texas Secretary of State Ruth R. Hughs that disrupted pre-approved plans to transmit voting results to a downtown collection center electronically. Trautman said the directive, issued Oct. 23, required Harris County election officials to have constables escort physical ballot boxes to the downtown collection center from 10 drop off points in the county rather than transmit them over a secure “intranet” connection, causing significant delays.



Ingram refuted this claim in an email to Houston-area state Senator Carol Alvarado. Alvarado sent a letter to Ingram Nov. 4 expressing concern over the changes in reporting procedures. Ingram stated that transmitting voter results via the intranet violates Texas Election Code.



“The clerk was planning to use this risky method of results reporting even though they were fully aware it was illegal to do so, and with apparent disregard to the fact that the intelligence community has repeatedly warned election officials since 2016 of the continuing desire of nation states to interfere with our election process,” the email read.

Trautman said the plan the new plan the county used on election night was slow but safe.

"It was the best contingency plan we could come up with on five days notice," Trautman told reporters Nov. 6. "I believe that our original plan was completely safe. Our IT department did, our universal services at the county, as well as our county attorneys."

The last vote count from Harris County was reported at 6:30 a.m. following Election Day, a delay Trautman alluded to in the week leading up to the election. Ingram also refuted Trautman’s claim that the election advisory sent Oct. 23 was the first time the clerk’s office became aware of their planned procedure’s violations.

“Most recently, we met with Hart Intercivic, the voting system vendor for Harris County, on [Oct.] 2 to discuss Hart’s new proposed solution for remote transmission,” the email read. “This proposed solution did not comply with Texas law and we now see that it looked remarkably like what Harris County was proposing to do.”



Harris County was not the only county in Texas that faced delays however. Travis County results were not reported until 3:40 a.m., an issue County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir was partially due to Texas reporting procedures.

SHARE THIS STORY


MOST RECENT

Houston Sichuan restaurant Pepper Twins charts two new locations

Sichuan-style Chinese restaurant Pepper Twins will open a location inside Houston’s Galleria, 5065 …

Courtesy Orangetheory Fitness
Orangetheory opens Highland Village location

Orangetheory Fitness opened its 23rd Houston-area location on Nov. 13 at 2400 Mid Lane Road, Ste. 150, in …

In a split 3-2 vote, the Harris County Commissioners Court passed a nonbinding resolution in favor of legislation requiring universal background checks for all Texas firearm sales, including those involving an unlicensed gun dealer and stranger-to-stranger gun sales, at its Nov. 12 meeting. (Courtesy Fotolia)
In split vote, Harris County approves resolution supporting universal background checks for all Texas firearm sales

The nonbinding resolution's passing demonstrated the court's support of legislation requiring universal background checks for all gun sales in the state, including those involving an unlicensed gun dealer and stranger-to-stranger gun sales.

Ahead of the Dec. 14 mayoral runoff election for the city of Houston, Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman announced plans Nov. 12 to move the county’s ballot box collection center to a more centralized location in hopes of expediting election result returns. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County clerk to move ballot box collection center to centralized location in effort to expedite election result returns

Ahead of the Dec. 14 mayoral runoff election for the city of Houston, Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman announced plans Nov. 12 to move the county’s ballot box collection center to a more centralized location in hopes of expediting election result returns.

One of the major themes found in the report was a nearly 24-year range in average lifespan that varied across the county from as low as 65 years to as high as 89 years. According to the report, the Memorial/Bear Creek area has the highest average lifespan, while the East Little York/Settegast area has the lowest. (Courtesy Harris County Public Health)
Benchmark study reveals 24-year lifespan variance, high obesity rates and limited health care access across Harris County

A study by Harris County Public Health found life expectancy in Harris County alone varies by nearly 24 years depending on where a resident lives.

Shepherd and Durham drives
Grant-funded Shepherd-Durham project expected to reduce crashes by half

A federal grant clears the way for a $50 million overhaul of a major corridor.

Fast-casual Singaporean concept Sing closes in the Heights

"We hope you enjoyed every bite, and we look forward to our next adventure together," a message posted to its website reads.

Snow fell at the Tomball Museum Center in early December 2017 (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
Greater Houston area to experience cold front Nov. 11-13; temperature could reach freezing point

The front is not expected to affect travel because the ground is too warm for precipitation to stick.

Drivers on the Grand Parkway will pay higher tolls come Jan. 1, 2020. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Tolls to increase Jan. 1 on the Grand Parkway

Drivers on the Grand Parkway will see toll rates increase 2% on Jan. 1, 2020.

Transportation Update: Crockett Street downgraded in Houston's thoroughfare plan

Crockett Street has been downgraded from a major to minor collector street under the city’s Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan.

Transportation Update: TxDOT makes progress on Hempstead Road reconstruction

The Texas Department of Transportation contracted James Construction Group in 2018 to improve to a section of Hempstead Road just north of I-10 inside Loop 610.

Back to top