Houston Matters

Texas lawmakers approve bills aimed squarely at Harris County elections

One bill eliminates the county administrator. The other gives the Texas Secretary of State new authority. 


A sample ballot is placed in the voting machine during a demonstration.


To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="https://embed.hpm.io/452414/452417" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>

On Monday, the Texas House passed two bills aimed squarely at Harris County elections. The House's version of Senate Bill 1750 abolishes the office of Harris County elections administrator. SB 1933 allows the Texas Secretary of State to impose “administrative oversight” during an election.

While the latter doesn’t specify Harris County, News 88.7’s politics and government reporter Andrew Schneider says its stipulations are based directly on what the county has done in recent election cycles.

MORE ABOUT SB 1750: It targets Harris County – and only Harris County – and eliminates the position of Harris County elections administrator (an appointed position) and divvies up the office's responsibilities to the Harris County Clerk and the county's Tax Assessor/Collector. Those are elected positions. In other words, says Schneider, “the county's election responsibilities and processes will return to the elective offices that ran them prior to 2020.”

CHANCES OF A COURT CHALLENGE: Schneider says, “It's likely Harris County could seek a court intervention, but it could be an uphill climb. If there is such a challenge, it might be based on the fact that this legislation specifically addresses one office in one Texas county.”

MORE ABOUT SB 1933: This bill allows the Texas Secretary of State to impose "administrative oversight" during an election. It’s written very broadly. It allows the Secretary of State to order administrative oversight of any county office administering elections or voter registration. If a complaint is filed, the Secretary of State notifies the county election authority, and the Secretary of State investigates and finds “good cause” that there’s a recurring pattern of problems (including malfunctioning voting equipment, lack of proper voting supplies like ballots, uncounted votes or other tabulation errors, or voter registry maintenance issues).

CHANCES OF A COURT CHALLENGE: According to Schneider: “Almost certainly.”

Correction: Since our conversation, News 88.7 has since learned an attachment was added last minute to SB 1933 that effectively means it applies solely to Harris County.

Today in Houston Newsletter Signup
We're in the process of transitioning services for our Today in Houston newsletter. If you'd like to sign up now, fill out the form below and we will add you as soon as we finish the transition. **Please note** If you are already signed up for the newsletter, you do not need to sign up again. Your subscription will be migrated over.
Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

More Information