UPDATE: Harris County Political Parties Agree to Hold Joint Election
Harris County had multiple problems during the 2022, 2021, and 2020 elections. Although running on a budget of $40+ million, the county has experienced a PLETHORA of polling locations not having enough ballots, long wait times, to brand new voting machines malfunctioning.
On Sept. 1, 2023, the state legislature ordered the county to get rid of its election administrator position and hand the duties back to the county clerk run the elections instead.
The new law also requires extra polling locations, which the clerk says the county doesn't have in place now.
Going from 375 to 512 +, we're looking at the impact of almost a general election in terms of services and resources," she said. "There is no amount of money we could put on this to get equipment in time. I do believe in the long term money is going to help us because we will need more equipment."
The Harris County Democratic party has agreed to combine equipment and workers in what's called a joint primary, but the Republicans have refused, claiming there is no shortage of resources.
"This is getting a little partisan, and we're going to have these conversations with the Republican party, but let's be really clear," Tom Ramsey, the only Republican on Harris County Commissioners Court, said. "Clerk Hudspeth inherited a mess. This didn't have anything to do with the Republican party."
"It says the parties have to agree, so here, the clerk has recommended, the Democratic Party has agreed, and the Republican Party has not agreed, so it's by law partisan," Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee said.
The clerk is meeting with leaders from both parties on Wednesday. She said it's the last chance to make changes in time for the March primary.