Ahead of midterms, Harris County officials think new administrator can help secure election

Chaz Miller Image
Thursday, July 7, 2022
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Despite the fact that Clifford Tatum won't take over until at least next month, efforts are well underway to ensure November's midterms are done fairly in Harris County.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Efforts are well underway to ensure November's midterms are done fairly in Harris County, despite the fact that the new administrator hasn't started yet.

Clifford Tatum was announced on Tuesday as the new elections administrator after the resignation of Isabel Longoria. He isn't expected to take over until at least next month.

When it comes to credentials, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Tatum's resume shows that he's the man to replace Longoria as the Harris County Elections Administrator.

READ MORE: Harris County Election Commission names Clifford Tatum as new elections administrator

"He works elections in D.C. right now, but he was the interim secretary of state in Georgia. He had a high-level position there as well," Hidalgo said. "And he's worked for the federal government, advising elections officials all throughout the country. He was selected through a very thorough process, a weekslong process."

Hidalgo is one of the five members on the Harris County Elections Commission, which also includes both county party chairs.

The members unanimously chose Tatum over one other finalist on Tuesday.

As far as his job duties go, the county's acting elections administrator, Beth Stevens, outlined what Tatum will be doing once he takes over.

SEE ALSO: Harris County election administrator resigns after 10K mail-in ballots were mischaracterized

"So, the Elections Administrator's Office does everything you can think of related to an election," Stevens explained. "And so we handle voter registration, vote by mail, we handle getting election equipment, finding voting locations, basically everything you can think of, A to Z, related to elections."

Prior to 2020, those jobs were split between the Harris County Clerk's Office and Tax Assessor-Collector.

While Tatum isn't expected to start until at least next month, Stevens said the county is already hard at work on midterms, and ensuring the election process is by the book.

"We have lots of projects that lead up to November, making sure that everything is buttoned up -- meaning that we have our elections workers staffed, trained," Stevens said. "Trained especially on making sure that voters are coming through the process, having a good experience, but also having the correct experience that they have when they go vote."

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