The elections commissioner in Harris County, Texas has resigned after a cache of 10,000 uncounted mail-in ballots through a conceded primary race into chaos.
“Today I am submitting my resignation, effective July 1,” Isabel Longoria said in her Monday announcement, according to the Epoch Times.
“I think this date ensures that there is a presiding officer during the May and June elections and allows the election commission the time they need to find a replacement.
“I remain committed to the office and its mission and hope to aid in defeating harmful rhetoric to ensure successful elections in the future.”
That “harmful rhetoric” arose after a botched primary election in which thousands of ballots were discovered after races were called.
Harris County — Texas’ largest county, home to Houston — announced days after the March 1 primary that it had “identified approximately 10,000 mail-in ballots (6,000 Democratic and 4,000 Republican) that were not added into the original Election Night count,” according to the Texas Tribune.
The count had been entered into the county’s tabulation computer but “were not transferred and counted as a part of the unofficial final results as they should have been,” Harris County’s statement read.
In one Democratic race, state Rep. Harold V. Dutton Jr. — who represents Houston — led challenger Candis Houston by only 136 votes.
Houston had conceded the race even though it hadn’t been called. After the ballots were found, Dutton sounded a skeptical note.
“It seems to me that somebody should’ve known that 10,000 ballots were missing,” Dutton said. “If 10,000 ballots were missing and nobody knew that, God help us.”
The race for attorney general could have also been affected.
Leading Democratic candidate Rochelle Garza was already headed to a runoff because she got less than the 50 percent of the primary vote needed to advance. The race for second was close enough that only 1,418 votes separated former Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski and civil rights attorney Lee Merritt.
Merritt would concede on Thursday, The Dallas Morning News reported.
The missing ballots weren’t the only issue in the race, either. Reports said long lines at the polls, understaffing and equipment problems also plagued Harris County.
“The buck stops with me to address issues for voters and I did not meet my own standard or the standard set by commissioners,” Longoria said Monday.
However, that’s not going to stop the outrage from both political parties; the Harris County Republican Party is suing Longoria and her elections office, calling it the “worst elections fiasco in Texas history,” and the Harris County Democratic Party is demanding an investigation.
“We called for a post-election review of all processes — there has not been any skirting of party responsibility, and we have been completely transparent in our desire to dig into the details of what went wrong and identify how to make corrections moving forward,” said Harris County Democratic Party chair Odus Evbagharu.