It was, as noted, a smooth and easy night in Harris County, despite the folderol from earlier in the day.
Harris County election drama in the courts did not prevent voting officials from what could be a record speedy count.
At midnight, only two of the 520 ballots boxes used for Tuesday’s election were outstanding, meaning the vast majority were in the hands of officials who were rapidly counting them.
“I will be a happy girl if we get everything in by 1 a.m.,” said Isabel Longoria, Harris County elections administrator. “This is what happens with a well executed plan.”
By 11:30 250 Democratic and 246 Republican polling sites had turned in their ballots, while about 20 more were on site and awaiting a procedural check before officials signed off on the receipt. Each party had 260 locations, which they shared, meaning election counters at NRG Arena had 189 of the needed 520 ballot boxes.
About 150 cars snaked through the NRG parking lot earlier in the night, Longoria said, moving “slow and steady.”
On the official count, five ballot boxes were listed as outstanding at 11:45 p.m., which quickly ticked down.
See here for the background. Still no word from SCOTx as far as I know. It sure would be nice if this “easy night, returns posted in a timely fashion” became the new narrative.
There are still a couple of unresolved elections. CD15 is way too close to call.
With all precincts reporting on Tuesday night, Democratic primary candidate for Congressional District 15 Michelle Vallejo led the race ahead of Ruben Ramirez by only 23 votes. Of the 12,063 total votes reported on Wednesday morning, Vallejo received 6,043 votes and Ramirez received 6,020 votes district-wide.
Hilda Salinas, assistant director of the Hidalgo County Elections Department, said that the race was too close to call on Wednesday morning, with a final result expected on Thursday, June 2.
“We still have to wait for all the out of county ballots and mail-in ballots to come in,” Salinas said. “The Ballot Board will be meeting on Wednesday to finalize everything so that everything can be canvassed on Thursday.”
The canvassing process is the final step before certification of results, and it includes a careful tally of all ballots.
“As per Texas election code, there’s certain ballots that still have time to come in and be counted by our ballot board,” Salinas added.
Both campaigns declined to comment on Wednesday morning on whether a call for a recount could occur over the next week.
Vallejo issued a statement late Tuesday night: “Though the race is too close to call, we are heartened by the clear path to victory.”
A statement from the Ramirez campaign Wednesday morning stated, “Our campaign trusts in the democratic process and integrity of this election. We know that our election workers are doing all they can to get us a result, and we thank them for their tireless work.”
We’ll see what happens. CD15 is the closest district based on the new map and the 2020 returns, and it’s a big target for Republicans, with their candidate already rolling in cash. It would be nice to get this resolved quickly so the nominee can move forward.
And of course, there’s CD28, which is almost as close.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, the last anti-abortion Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, boldly declared victory just before midnight in his nail-biter primary runoff race. But his progressive challenger, Jessica Cisneros, refused to concede, as the race was separated by less than 200 votes with all counties reporting their votes.
“This election is still too close to call, and we are still waiting for every ballot and eligible vote to be counted,” she said in a tweet, shortly after Cuellar declared himself the winner.
Just before midnight in Texas, Cuellar led Cisneros by a mere 177 votes.
At the time he declared victory, no major news organization had called the race.
“Tonight, the 28th Congressional District spoke, and we witnessed our great Democratic system at work,” he said in a statement. “The results are in, all the votes have been tallied — I am honored to have once again been re-elected as the Democratic Nominee for Congress.”
With such a narrow margin, it is likely the race may not be decided for days. Mail-in votes from domestic voters can still be counted if they were postmarked by Tuesday and are received by counties by 5 p.m. Wednesday. The race is also within the margin that Cisneros can request a recount.
I’m ready for this race to be over. Just tell me who won so we can move on with our lives. I fully expect there will be a recount, however.