Harris County, Texas District Attorney Kim Ogg has requested assistance from the Texas Rangers in an investigation into claims of criminal conduct concerning the county's administration of last week's midterm election after some polling places ran out of ballot paper or stayed open late, among other issues.
"Free and fair elections are the bedrock of our democracy," Ogg, a Democrat, said in a statement this week, reports Houston Public Media. "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."
Her announcement comes after Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday called for an investigation saying that he was calling on the Secretary of State, the Attorney General's Office, and the Texas Rangers to initiate investigations into allegations of improprieties in the state's largest county that "may result from anything ranging from malfeasance to blatant criminal conduct."
"Voters in Harris County deserve to know what happened. Integrity in the election process is essential," Abbott said in his statement. "To achieve that standard, a thorough investigation is warranted."
Ogg said her office got a referral from the Texas Secretary of State's Office for an investigation.
Harris County is the home of all of Houston and other neighboring communities and has a population of roughly 4.1 million people.
Abbott, the Republican incumbent, won his reelection bid but got fewer votes in Harris County than his Democrat challenger, Beto O'Rourke. State Attorney General Ken Paxton also lost in Harris County, but took the state, notes Houston Public Media.
The Harris County Republican Party Monday sued Harris County Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum and the county, claiming that Tatum prematurely released early voting results on election night, a violation of Texas election laws.
In the lawsuit, the party says Tatum instructed poll workers to issue second ballots who were not able to properly scan original ballots, and claims he pressured election judges to allow county personnel to pick up election results from polling places.
The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief from a state district court, not to overturn the results of any race.
Harris County Democrat Party Chair Odus Evbagharu slammed Ogg's investigation, saying she wants to score political points, not identify and solve issues with the midterm elections.
He also accused her of "following in the footsteps of Gov. Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and the Harris County Republican Party" while "enabling election deniers and QAnon conspiracy theorists."
The investigation follows the Texas Secretary of State's Office selection of Harris County as part of its 2022 election audit, as it did in 2020, and the office and the U.S. Department of Justice sent monitors to the county during the election.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.