Gov. Abbott calls for investigation of election in largest Texas county

Texas 2022 midterm election

BEAUMONT, TEXAS – OCTOBER 17: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference on October 17, 2022 in Beaumont, Texas. Abbott met with state and local law enforcement to discuss measures in addressing the growing problem of fentanyl in the state. In September, the governor directed the state police through executive order to boost efforts at combating Mexican drug cartels, which he blames for transporting millions of doses of the opioid into Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is calling for an investigation into Harris County’s elections, citing what he called “widespread problems” during Tuesday’s midterms.

The governor’s office issued a news release Monday afternoon claiming “voters in Harris County were frustrated by confusion and delays.” Abbott, who won re-election last week, said the Nov. 8 issues included “missing keys, insufficient paper ballots in Republican precincts, staffing problems and more.”

“The allegations of election improprieties in our state’s largest county may result from anything ranging from malfeasance to blatant criminal conduct,” Abbott said in a release on Monday. “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.”

The Harris County Democratic Party replied with its own statement. Party chair Odus Evbagharu called Abbott’s demand for an investigation “yet another example of the political theater we’ve come to expect from our state leader.”

“It’s almost laughable that Abbott has demanded this investigation since he actually sent a team to oversee the Harris County elections last week,” the statement read. “Was Abbott’s team ineffective? Will Abbott be investigating himself? Our biggest concern about this is that Abbott and other GOP state leaders are trying to criminalize election workers.”

According to a separate report by the Houston Chronicle, the Harris County Republican Party announced plans late last week to file a lawsuit over election issues, including a paper ballot shortage, at several polling locations. Those issues, the Houston Chronicle reported, prompted the closure of at least one polling location.

The Harris County GOP also advised voters to avoid 23 polling locations that did not have enough ballot paper, the newspaper reported. They claim paper shortages occurred in primarily Republican-leaning districts.

Unofficial election results show that Abbott’s Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke garnered 54% of votes in Harris County, compared to Abbott’s 44.5%.

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