Texas Secretary of State Jane Nelson’s office on Thursday released preliminary findings from its audit of Harris County’s November 2022 election, the latest analysis of an election that has been the subject of intense scrutiny from state and local Republicans for nearly a year.
Harris County was one of four counties selected in July 2022 for an audit of its November election, along with Eastland, Cameron and Guadalupe.
A Secretary of State’s office spokesperson said Thursday that audits of the other three counties have not been released, nor are the release dates known yet.
The report comes just five days before early voting begins in a November election with the Houston mayoral race on the ballot.
Last December, the Secretary of State’s office released an audit of Harris County’s November 2020 election that identified numerous administrative errors but found no evidence of widespread voter fraud. The office released a letter days before voting began in last year’s November election, including some of their 2020 findings and warning that Harris County had not yet provided some required information to complete the audit.
See here and here for some background, and here for a copy of the preliminary findings. It’s a long report, but all you really need to read is the executive summary. Which, it should be noted, contained a couple of nice things about Harris County and the 2022 election:
In stark contrast to election day documentation, early voting polling place paperwork was largely complete and well-executed. Typically, early voting workers are more experienced and receive more training as they work more closely with the county election officer. The differences between election day and early voting paperwork are reflective of this discrepancy in training and experience.
Vote early, y’all. Most of us already do. Remember how there were basically no problems with early voting in 2022? Vote early.
The 2020 audit revealed that Harris County did not have documentation reflecting a continuity of operations plan or emergency management plans. Since 2020, Harris County has made an effort to develop adequate contingency, incident response, and emergency management plans, specifically with regard to elections and voter registration. Additionally, the Harris County elections office has worked with the Harris County Universal Services to ensure that elections operations are included in county planning. For security reasons, the details of such plans are confidential. Though Harris County has made progress in this area, the Secretary of State highly recommends that Harris County implement Vendor Risk Management Policies since the county relies on different vendors to store, maintain, and process election data.
And now we can all forget about the 2022 election audit and wait until they audit us again for 2024, because that’s just how it’s going to be. A response from the County Clerk’s office is here, and the Trib has more.