More on the November 2021 election results

Here’s the Chron story on the Tuesday election results. It is mostly a straight recording of the individual races, including those I covered yesterday and others that I didn’t. Of the most interest to me is this:

Results were delayed until late Tuesday, in part because of a reported power outage at Harris County Elections’ counting center. Early and absentee totals were not available until after 10 p.m.,

“The machines are sensitive to any interference, so to ensure the integrity of the computers we conducted a full logic and accuracy test, which takes about two hours,” according to a Facebook post by the county’s elections administration office. “Though we want to get the results out quickly, we prioritize processing everything accurately even if it takes some extra time.”

The post said judges were dropping off equipment at the central counting location at that time.

People still were voting at 8 p.m., about an hour after polls closed, at one poll location, Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria tweeted.

“Standby, watch the Astros, and we’ll catch you soon,” Longoria said in the Tweet.

The Astros advice probably didn’t help anyone’s mood, but that’s hindsight. The Facebook post in question, which contains video of Longoria explaining what is happening, is here – there are more vids further up the page as well. Campos was furious, called it a “botched” night and an “epic failure”, and expects “outrage” from Commissioners Court. Stace was more measured, saying “these glitches give the County a chance to fix things so we can avoid them when everyone shows up next November”. I lean more in that direction, but I get the frustration – I wore myself out hitting Refresh on Tuesday – and there are a lot of questions to be asked and answered. I will be interested to see how the Court reacts.

Longoria also had this to say, on Twitter:

The line about jail voting refers to this. Not sure where she’s getting the 12% turnout figure from – going by the Election Day totals posted, there were 227,789 votes cast out of 2,482,914 registered voters, for 9.17% turnout. Still, that’s a significant increase from 2017, which had 150,174 ballots cast out of 2,233,533 voters, for 6.72% turnout. That’s a 52% increase in voters, or a 36% increase in turnout as a percentage of registered voters, in a year where there was nothing sexy on the ballot. What gives?

It could be an effect of a more energized Republican base, going to the polls to express their feelings about President Biden. I don’t know that the Constitutional amendments were a great vehicle for that, but maybe the school board races were. Conservative challengers are in runoffs in three races, so maybe that had something to do with it. Here’s a comparison of turnout from 2017 to 2021:

Year  Dist   Votes  Voters  Turnout
2017     I   9,784  78,479   12.47%
2021     I  10,108  87,671   11.53%

2017     V  12,431  85,309   14.57%
2021     V  17,153  89,123   19.25%

2017    VI   7,399  73,575   10.06%
2021    VI   8,972  77,508   11.58%

2017   VII  12,219  89,177   13.70%
2021   VII  15,596  99,824   15.62%

2017    IX   8,622  84,185   10.24%
2021    IX   8,935  90,067    9.32%

On the one hand, the two races that didn’t prominently feature conservative candidates actually had less turnout (at least percentage-wise) than they did in 2017. On the other hand, outside of the District V race, the increase wasn’t that much. In District VI, it was a jump of 21% in total voters, and 15% in turnout of RVs, and in District VII, it was 27% for voters and 14% for turnout of RVs. Not nothing, but much less than Harris County as a whole. Even District V, at a 38% increase in voters and 32% increase in turnout of RVs, was below the county level.

So who knows? Final turnout was definitely higher than I thought it would be, and in the end it was still the case that almost exactly half of the vote came in on Election Day. Again, more than I thought it would be but still a big step down from 2017, when 59% of the vote was on E-Day. Given the huge turnout in 2020, it may be the case that there are just now more habitual voters. If that’s so, we’ll see some of that effect in 2022 and especially 2023, when the open Mayoral race will also drive people to the polls. I don’t think there are any big conclusions to draw here, but let’s put a pin in this and see what we think a couple of years down the line.

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8 Responses to More on the November 2021 election results

  1. Michelle says:

    The CyFair ISD race also drove quite a bit of that increase. They had anti-CRT, anti mask candidates win all 3 positions. Also, that is where the voting location that had a line until after 8pm is located.

  2. Mainstream says:

    I don’t think we ever had to wait until 8:12 a.m. the next day for all ballot boxes to be accounted for when Stan Stanart was in charge of Harris County elections.

  3. Frederick says:


    Good grief…you can stop clutching your pearls and creating artificial hysteria about a single ballot box that was not transferred the night before.

    Have you had a chance to talk to accused anti-Semite Stan Stanart about whether this late ballot box was a part of a Jewish conspiracy by George Soros?

  4. Ross says:

    Some of those new folks in Cy-Fair are going to be surprised when they the limits of what school boards can do.

  5. Mainstream says:


    To suggest that former County Clerk Stan Stanart hates Jews is simply slanderous. He may be a hard right, social and religious movement conservative, but I am not aware of any evidence that he is anti-Semitic.

  6. C.L. says:

    Doesn’t appear Frederick is only one who has referenced Stanart and Anti-Semite in the same sentence…

  7. policywonqueria says:


    Seriously folks. A probing analysis of what went wrong and why with the local part of this low-key election, and how to do better next time, can be productive and constructive.

    The incessant name-calling and denunciation of political enemies, on the other hand, gets tiresome.

    What does it take to become an accused FILLTHEBLANK? An accusation. No more.

  8. voter_worker says:

    @policywonqueria: the situations criticized (a power failure resulting in a delay in reporting results, one precinct voting for over an hour after closing, a delayed ballot box) don’t even rise to the status of bumps in the road in my opinion. The EA’s post-election review will produce whatever procedural changes are needed to reduce the probability of recurrence. It’s been a no-drama election which merits, if not congratulations to the EA, then certainly a feeling of relief that it went as smoothly as it did.

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