A Democrat District Attorney in Texas has requested that the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) investigate her county’s midterm election after voters complained of delayed polling location openings, ballot shortages, staffing shortages, and other problems on Election Day.
On Monday, Kim Ogg, Harris County’s Democrat District Attorney, sent a letter to TDPS Executive Director Steven McGraw asking for him to investigate potential criminal conduct that occurred during the elections.
Ogg wrote, “The Harris County District Attorney’s Office received a referral from the Secretary of State concerning alleged irregularities with the latest Harris County elections that potentially may include criminal conduct. Please consider this my official request to engage the Texas rangers to assist my office in conducting the investigation into these allegations.”
In a later statement, Ogg said, “Free and fair elections are the bedrock of our democracy. When we get credible complaints of election irregularities, we are statutorily required to investigate. That’s why we’ve called for the assistance of the Texas Rangers.”
“The results of their investigation will be turned over to a Harris County grand jury,” she added, maintaining that it is her “duty as the elected District Attorney to follow the evidence and follow the law,” regardless of political affiliation.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) has also called for an investigation into the county’s elections. In a statement, Abbott said, “I’m calling on the Secretary of State, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Texas Rangers to initiate investigations into allegations of improprieties in the way that the 2022 elections were conducted in Harris County.”
“The allegations of election improprieties in our state’s largest county may result from anything ranging from malfeasance to blatant criminal conduct,” Abbott added. “Voters in Harris County deserve to know what happened. Integrity in the election process is essential. To achieve that standard, a thorough investigation is warranted.”
Members of the Democratic Party are lashing out at Ogg for investigating the Harris County election process, accusing her of supporting “election deniers and QAnon conspiracy theorists.” The chair of the Harris County Democratic Party, Odus Evbagharu, gave a statement on Wednesday about the DA’s investigation, saying that he does “not agree with urging the prosecution of election workers for faithfully doing their jobs in support of the Democratic process.” He accused Ogg of wanting to score “political points” instead of “having true concern about… the issues that impacted the midterm elections.”
“We cannot be helping amplify false rhetoric in the battle to preserve our democracy, freedom, and rights,” added Evbagharu.
On the same day that Ogg and Abbott reached out to the TDPS for support, the Harris County Republican Party filed a lawsuit against the county’s elections administrator, Clifford Tatum, and Harris County itself. The lawsuit alleges that Tatum had violated Texas state election laws in a number of ways, including the premature release of voting results on election night, telling poll workers to issue second ballots to voters who couldn’t properly scan their original ballots, and coercing election judges to allow results to be picked up from polling places by county personnel.
The lawsuit insists that the elections in Harris County were conducted in a way that “illegally disenfranchised tens of thousands of registered voters from casting their votes.”
In response to the lawsuit, Tatum said that his office is “fully committed to transparency regarding the processes and procedures implemented” during the midterm elections.