Nearly 200 more Harris County voting locations could be available if parties can find staff

Nick Natario Image
Wednesday, February 7, 2024
More Harris Co. voting locations available this primary if staffed
The Harris County Democratic party put out an urgent plea for people to work on Election Day because if they don't get the staff, they say it could lead to longer lines.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- With a month to go before the primary Election Day, the Harris County Democratic party put out an urgent plea for workers.

Harris County voters should have a lot more places to go on this primary day. The number of locations on Election Day has jumped from 350 in 2020 to nearly 550 this year.

Because of this, the clerk's office says as many as 6,500 workers are needed, which County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth warned county commissioners last week they're trying to reach.

"This is something we're working day and night with the parties to assure we have enough election worker recruitment," Hudspeth said. "That is on the parties."

Here's what's changed this primary. A new state law is supposed to give voters more locations.

"Because of new state legislation that requires a smaller number of voters per polling site, Harris County has to have more Election Day vote centers on March 5," Rice University Political Science Professor Mark Jones said.

Both parties are required to staff the locations. The Harris County Republican Party sent ABC13 a statement from GOP Chairperson Cindy Siegel:

"Early voting alternate judges and clerks are almost entirely filled. The county has not confirmed all locations for Election Day, so as we receive confirmations for Election Day locations, we have been actively placing our judges. We expect to have all of our judges and their clerks placed by early next week as long as the county has confirmed all of the Election Day locations."

The Harris County Democratic Party sent the following statement after ABC13's 6 p.m. newscast:

The last Primary Election had 375 locations on Election Day. This Primary will have 545, in large part due to new legislation that increases the number of polling places required. The Democratic Party has so far staffed election judges for roughly 480 locations. Many of these election judges have clerks they'll recommend, but some do not. Therefore, we don't have the number of clerks yet that we'll need, but we're anticipating that a large number will need to be recruited.

In a social media post, the party had an urgent plea for workers.

"If Republicans fail to have enough workers and polling sites shut down, it's the fault of the Republican party, and the same for the Democrats," Jones explained.

New University of Houston survey shows what's influencing Republican voters ahead of the primary elections

On Tuesday, ABC13 learned more about what's influencing Republican voters. A new University of Houston study of 1,500 voters showed who has the most influence.

"What we found is Donald Trump's endorsement is worth its weight in gold," Jones explained.

Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz have a lot of influence as well. The survey shows Attorney General Ken Paxton doesn't have as much sway.

The study also looked at important issues and found what's impacting voters.

"In terms of ranking of issues, an incumbent who voted against school choice is in a much more difficult position than someone who just voted for the impeachment of Ken Paxton," Jones said.

These are reasons why some people want to vote in this primary, and each party is trying to give them more locations to do it, but they have to find the staff with just a month to go.

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