Voting

Harris County, Houston leaders ask Justice Department to send monitors for midterm election

The Texas Secretary of State sent a letter this week to the county stating it would send a team of inspectors and election security trainers for November’s election.

Daisy Espinoza / Houston Public Media
A Harris County sample ballot is placed in the voting machine as a demonstration for how it works on election day.

Harris County and Houston leaders are asking the Justice Department to send federal monitors to the area in the wake of state officials planning to deploy inspectors during November's midterm election.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee and County Judge Lina Hidalgo released a letter late Thursday signed by all three making the request.

"These actions appear designed to chill voters' trust in the election process in Harris County, and to disrupt and intimidate local election workers as they execute their duties to ensure the 2022 election is ‘smooth and secure,' as the Texas Secretary of State described the 2020 election at the time," the letter states.

The Texas Secretary of State sent a letter this week to the county stating it would send a team of inspectors and election security trainers for November’s election. Representatives from the attorney general's office also plan to be in the county to “immediately respond to any legal issues” that the inspectors or others find.

A spokesperson for the secretary of state called the allegations by the three officials “completely false and a cynical distortion of the law.”

In a separate statement, Menefee attacked the move by state officials, saying they "cannot be trusted to be an honest broker in our elections, especially an attorney general who filed a lawsuit to overturn the 2020 presidential election."

Menefee said he planned to be at the central counting location at NRG Park on election night along with the monitors sent by the state.

The letter sent by the three elected officials was sent to the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.

Mark Norris

Mark Norris

Director of Digital Content

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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