Let’s start with this.
Long lines combined with a lack of voting machines turned into frustration for voters at several election sites in Harris County on Super Tuesday.
Margaret Hollie arrived at the Multi Service Center on Griggs Road at 11 a.m. She finished just after 2:45 p.m.
“It was horrible,” she said. “The worst since I’ve been voting. And I’ve been voting for 60 years.”
She decided to stick around and vote at the location in the city’s South Union area. Others did not, opting to find polling sites that were less busy. Under recent changes implemented by county leaders, voters can now cast their ballot at any precinct.
In Kashmere Gardens, at another Multi Service Center, the line of voters stretched from the entrance of the voting room to the exit of the facility.
Bettie Adami was one of about 100 people in the line about 4 p.m. Healthcare, higher paying jobs and raising the minimum wage top the list of her concerns this election season.
She isn’t letting the line prevent her from voting. “I’ll stand as long as I have to to cast my vote,” she said.
The county’s political parties are in charge of deciding which polling places will be open for primary elections, said [Rosio Torres, a spokesperson for the Harris County] Clerk’s office.
DJ Ybarra, Executive Director of the Harris County Democratic Party , said the decision was made to not include some polling locations in negotiations with Republicans to keep countywide voting in the primary. The parties agreed on the final map of polling locations in January, said Ybarra.
“In that negotiation, we had to come up with what locations we wanted,” said Ybarra. “We wish we could have had more locations, but we had to negotiate and we had to keep countywide voting.
“In the future, we’re going to try our best to get all our polling locations we want earlier in the process, so we’re not put in a position where we don’t have all the locations we want,” Ybarra said.
To sum that up in a couple of tweets:
Correction – there wasn’t an agreement between parties. One party agreed while the other did not.
— Diane Trautman (@dtrautman) 7:58 PM – 3 March 2020
UPDATE from @HarrisVotes as of 6 p.m.: 123,085 Democrats and 65,592 Republicans have voted in Harris County so far on Super Tuesday. #khou11
— Adam Bennett (@AdamBennettKHOU) 6:11 PM – 3 March 2020
In other words, there were about twice as many Dems voting yesterday as there were Republicans, but there were an equal number of Dem and Rep voting machines, which is the way it works for separate primaries. Had this been a joint primary as Trautman’s office originally proposed and which the HCDP accepted, each voting machine at each site could have been used for either primary. Oh well.
I had asked if the judicial races were basically random in a high-turnout election like this. The answer is No, because in every single judicial election where there was a male candidate and a female candidate, the female candidate won, often by a large margin. That means the end for several incumbents, including Larry Weiman, Darryl Moore, Randy Roll, Steven Kirkland, and George Powell, some of which I mourn more than others. Alex Smoots-Thomas, who had a male challenger and a female challenger, trails Cheryl Elliott Thornton going into a runoff. I saw a lot of mourning on Twitter last night of Elizabeth Warren’s underperformance and the seeming reluctance many people had to vote for a woman for President. Well, at least in Harris County, many many people were happy to vote for women for judge.
Three of the four countywide incumbents were headed to victory. In order of vote share, they are Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Tax Assessor Ann Harris Bennett, and DA Kim Ogg. In the County Attorney race, challenger Christian Menefee was just above fifty percent, and thus on his way to defeating three-term incumbent Vince Ryan without a runoff. I thought Menefee would do well, but that was a very strong performance. Even if I have to correct this today and say that he fell just short of a clear majority, it’s still quite impressive.
Commissioner Rodney Ellis easily won, with over 70%. Michael Moore and Diana Martinez Alexander were neck and neck in Precinct 3, with Kristi Thibaut a few points behind in third place.
Unfortunately, as I write this, Democrats were on their way towards an own goal in HCDE Position 7, At Large. Andrea Duhon, who is already on the Board now, was leading with just over 50%. If that holds, she’ll have to withdraw and the Republican – none other than Don Freaking Sumners – will be elected in November. If we’re lucky, by the time all the votes have been counted, she’ll drop below fifty percent and will be able to withdraw from the runoff, thus allowing David Brown, currently in second place, to be the nominee. If not, this was the single lousiest result of the day.
Got a lot of other ground to cover, so let’s move on. I’ll circle back to some other county stuff tomorrow.