Attorneys pored over Harris County voter records in a downtown courtroom Tuesday afternoon, arguing over the validity of thousands of ballots cast nearly nine months ago.
It was the first day in a high stakes election contest trial of GOP judicial candidate Erin Lunceford, who is challenging the race she lost in November to incumbent 189th District Judge Tamika Craft by 2,743 votes, an outcome she is aiming to overturn in court. Twenty other lawsuits filed by failed GOP candidates could hinge on whether Lunceford is successful.
In their bid to convince a judge to order a new election, Lunceford’s team has sifted through thousands of ballots looking for errors in which required information such as a signature, date or address is missing. Some ballots they are trying to throw out were cast by voters who filled out a statement of residence form because their current address does not match their voter registration address, such as those who recently moved.
The second half of Taylor’s strategy relies on thousands of votes he has argued should have been counted but weren’t — in other words, jelly beans that should be in the jar, but aren’t. The Lunceford team has claimed at least 29 polls turned away nearly 3,000 voters on Election Day due to either a lack of ballot paper or technical issues.
Victoria Williams, an election worker who ran the polling place at Spring First Church, told the court nearly 200 voters were turned away at her location when they ran out of paper. Those voters could have voted at any other precinct in the county, but it is not known how many went to another polling place or just went home.
“Just lack of ballot paper is enough evidence legally to support a new election,” Taylor argued.
Taylor offered the judge another reason why Lunceford is entitled to a new election: a judge extended voting by one additional hour on Election Day, at a time when some of the 782 polling locations did not have ballot paper.
In response, Haynes slammed Taylor for changing his focus over the past several months away from the ballot paper shortage to the thousands of votes Taylor says were cast illegally, accusing Taylor of including “everything but the kitchen sink in their pleadings.”
Craft’s attorneys used emails from the Harris County GOP to portray party leadership as a group of “so-called election experts” who were looking for “ammo” before the election even happened.
One of those emails promising “ammo” was sent by Alan Vera, a longtime GOP activist who died in May at the Texas Capitol before testifying on election legislation.
The defense also pointed to an email sent by Sartaj Bal, another GOP judicial candidate contesting his election, when Bal was questioning whether they would have enough evidence to justify filing the lawsuits.
“It’s game over unless and until we have admissible evidence in our possession — going to need more than affidavits for proving up a case at trial,” Bal wrote. “As of right now we have mere allegations and a lawsuit.”
“Again, we have zero admissible evidence in our possession at this time and in my opinion it’s game over until we do — if we ever do,” Bal added.
Ultimately, the defense argued Tuesday that Lunceford’s team plans to overwhelm the court with numerous theories and alleged experts, opening the door for future lawsuits from candidates who lose by nearly 3,000 votes.
See here for the background. It’s the usual bullshit from professional bullshitter Andy Taylor who would like you to think that because some people had a different address on their drivers license than on their voter registration – a situation that can be easily remedied, as noted above – the entire election must be thrown out and redone. Never mind that he has no idea how any of those voters may have voted. He’s just throwing up chaff. And those of you who might have thought that the mattress salesman was going swoop in with thousands of affidavits from vote-denied Republicans, well, you have the words of one of the losing candidates right there. There’s also this, from reporter Jen Rice:
of course it’s not feasible to bring in over 1000 voters who wanted to cast a ballot for the losing candidate in this judicial race but couldn’t because of voting problems, but still worth noting that we haven’t heard from 1
— jen rice (@jen_rice_) 9:55 AM – 3 August 2023
jim mcingvale launched a website over 5 months ago for harris county voters to report if they weren’t able to vote in november, so they’ve had time to verify those & bring voters to the witness stand (he attended day 1 of the trial, brought no voters)
— jen rice (@jen_rice_) 10:05 AM – 3 August 2023
the harris county GOP has flagged thousands of votes alleging they were illegal. their data analyst is on the witness stand & the defense has gone through dozens of the records 1 by 1 on screen, asking him why they’re flagged & the analyst is admitting they shouldn’t have been.
— jen rice (@jen_rice_) 5:41 PM – 3 August 2023
I remain hopeful that there will be a favorable verdict in this trial, and then the rest will go away because they were far less close than this race. And then may we never hear the name of that loser in the Harris County Judge race again.
UPDATE: Here’s the Chron story by Jen Rice that the Twitter thread is based on. When all of your “experts” are admitting on the stand that they have no actual qualifications and are often wrong…that’s bad, right?