Texas secretary of state to ship inspectors to watch vote counting in Harris County

The Texas Secretary of State’s Workplace knowledgeable officers within the state’s most populous county in a letter Tuesday that it’ll ship inspectors to watch vote counting in the course of the November election.

In a letter to Harris County Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum, the director of the secretary of state’s forensic audit division, Chad Ennis, wrote that an audit of the county, which leans Democratic, had discovered “severe breaches of correct elections information administration” within the dealing with of cellular poll packing containers within the Nov. 2020 normal election. The letter got here lower than every week earlier than the beginning of early voting within the state.

Ennis mentioned preliminary findings within the secretary of state’s audit embody “a minimum of 14 places the place chain-of-custody documentation is missing at finest and lacking at worst.”

In gentle of these findings, Ennis wrote that the secretary of state’s workplace will present “a contingent of inspectors” to the county to “carry out randomized checks on election information” and “observe the dealing with and counting of ballots and digital media.”

The workplace of Texas Legal professional Normal Ken Paxton has additionally agreed to dispatch a job power to Harris County that “will probably be accessible always in the course of the election interval in an effort to instantly reply to any authorized points recognized by secretary of state, inspectors, ballot watchers, or voters,” Ennis wrote.

In a press release to NBC Information, the Secretary of State’s Workplace mentioned it sends inspectors to many counties throughout state elections, together with Harris County, citing Chapter 34 of the Texas Election Code.

“Our inspectors and trainers will probably be current to assist Harris County officers and make sure the election course of is run easily and securely within the upcoming November normal election, and that the errors noticed prior to now are usually not repeated, and that no eligible voters have their votes discounted due to administrative errors,” as spokesman for the secretary of state’s workplace, Sam Taylor, mentioned.

Taylor dismissed any criticism over the transfer, saying that any group that makes an attempt to forged it as “an try and sow mistrust or intimidate voters” is “mendacity.”

NBC Information reached out to the Harris County election administrator for remark.

The assessment in Texas was launched final 12 months after former President Donald Trump pushed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for an examination of the 2020 election leads to the state, which Trump gained handily. The secretary of state’s workplace introduced hours later that it had begun evaluations in Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Collin counties, that are the 2 largest Democratic and two largest Republican ones, respectively.

The assessment got here amid related efforts by Republicans in a number of different states as Trump sought to to undermine the outcomes of the 2020 presidential election with baseless allegations of voter fraud.

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