UPDATED: Fort Bend County judge extends hours of polling locations after human error causes delays on first day of early voting

Voters wait in line at the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land on the first day of early voting. (Courtesy Fort Bend County Judge KP George)
Voters wait in line at the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land on the first day of early voting. (Courtesy Fort Bend County Judge KP George)

Voters wait in line at the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land on the first day of early voting. (Courtesy Fort Bend County Judge KP George)

Updated Oct. 13, 4:56 p.m.

Fort Bend County Judge KP George announced early-voting locations will remain open until 7 p.m. each day during the first week of early voting. George's decision follows an error that caused delays and lines at polling places the morning of Oct. 13.



Posted Oct. 13, 2:58 p.m.

Several Fort Bend County voters took to social media the morning of Oct. 13—the first day of early voting in Texas—to report long lines and delays at voting sites throughout the county.



Fort Bend County Election Administrator John Oldham told Community Impact Newspaper the problem was caused by the election dates not aligning between the county’s electronic poll books—the file system that is used to confirm people’s voter registration and check them in—and the server.

“It was human error, and it goes back to when we first set the election up before the governor changed the early-voting dates,” Oldham said.

Gov. Greg Abbott extended early voting on July 27 from two to three weeks. Early voting runs through Oct. 30, and Election Day is Nov. 3.

As of 11:45 a.m. Oct. 13, Oldham said the county had worked with all 30 early-voting locations to temporarily fix the issue. Furthermore, he said a permanent fix will take place overnight, so voters do not experience the same delays at the polls moving forward.

In a statement posted to social media, Fort Bend County Judge KP George said he was monitoring the polls at the Smart Financial Centre voting location in Sugar Land and would call for an investigation of the issue.

“I am extremely disappointed with the technical glitches that riddled Fort Bend County election machines this morning,” George wrote. “Remember, people have died for our right to vote. Stay in line or come back at a convenient time - the future of our country depends on us.”



Oldham said while the county should have caught the error, it did not appear in tests that were run ahead of the election because in those cases the electronic poll book was not live.

For more information on early voting and to read Q&A's with local candidates, visit
https://communityimpact.com/voter-guide.

By Claire Shoop
Claire joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2019 as the reporter for the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2019 where she studied journalism, government and Arabic. While in school, Claire was a fellow for The Texas Tribune, worked for the student newspaper, The Daily Texan, and spent a semester in Washington, D.C. She enjoys playing cards with her family and listening to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.


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