Texas Supreme Court opts to not throw out some Harris County provisional ballots

The Harris County Commissioners Court certified the final results of the 2022 midterms on Tuesday afternoon and included a report identifying the contested ballots.


Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune
Evening voters queue up in a long line before polls close Tuesday at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center in Houston.

Harris County leaders formally approved the results of November's midterm elections on Tuesday, the same day the Texas Supreme Court opted not to throw out some contested provisional ballots.

The Texas Supreme Court issued a ruling Tuesday morning asking Harris County to ID provisional ballots cast after 7 p.m. on Election Day. Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum presented commissioners with two packets Tuesday afternoon. The first included the full results, including the segregated provisional ballots.

"The second packet is dated today's date, 11/22/22, with a runtime of 2:46 p.m. This document reflects only the provisional ballots that were cast after 7 p.m. for each of the candidates and each of the propositions that were on the ballot."

Attorney General Ken Paxton had asked the state Supreme Court to disqualify those provisional ballots. Harris County opposed the motion. The court instructed the county ID the provisional ballots cast by those in line after 7 p.m. to determine whether those ballots could change the outcome of a race.

About 2,000 ballots were cast by Harris County voters who showed up during an extension of voting on election day, 7 – 8 p.m., that was allowed by a district court judge. An election day afternoon suit filed by the Texas Organizing Project asked for the extension due to multiple polling places opening late for various reasons.

Paxton argued the issues, including polling equipment that wasn't properly working or locations not properly staffed, wasn't enough of a problem throughout the county to allow the extension of voting hours.

Mark Norris

Mark Norris

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As Director of Digital Content, Mark Norris oversees all digital coverage for Houston Public Media, including the station’s website, social media platforms and apps. Born and raised in Dallas, Norris graduated from Southern Methodist University with degrees in both journalism and political science. As a Metro reporter for The Dallas...

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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