1st lawsuit challenging 2022 Harris County election results underway

Tom Abrahams Image
Tuesday, August 1, 2023
Trial for 1st lawsuit challenging 2022 election results underway
A trial for the first of more than 20 lawsuits arguing the 2022 Harris County election results is currently underway.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A trial challenging the results of a 2022 contest for district judge is underway in Harris County. It is the first of more than 20 lawsuits arguing the election results were not valid to go to trial.

Opening arguments began with a comparison to Game 6 of the 2022 World Series. As the Astros were on the cusp of victory, plaintiff's attorney Andy Taylor asked what would have happened had the umpire said they were out of baseballs. That's how he characterized the shortage of paper ballots at polling places on Election Day 2022.

"How can the Harris County Administrator's Office not even have enough ballot paper for people to vote and dare say, 'Sorry, I made a mistake, but the election is valid.' That's ridiculous," Taylor said. "We've got overwhelming evidence that satisfies the clear and convincing standard, and we're going to get a new election. Once all of the evidence is in, the judge is literally going to have no choice but to grant a new election."

For his part, the judge, visiting from San Antonio, said the rule of law and the perception of fairness are far more important to him than any election contest.

Taylor's client, Republican district judge candidate Erin Lunceford, sued, and she is seeking a new election because of those issues and others. She lost by roughly 2,700 votes to Democrat Tami Craft, who now holds the seat as the judge in the 189th District Court.

Lunceford's suit blames Harris County Election Administrator Clifford Tatum for botching the election enough that nobody can truly know who won.

During opening statements, Lunceford's attorneys argued they would present evidence that proves election irregularities warrant a new election. They promised testimony from voters and election judges and claimed at least 29 polling places ran out of paper ballots, that ballot scanners were not working, that voters were turned away at multiple locations, and that some voters cast ballots illegally because of residency.

In its opening arguments, Judge Craft's team told the judge GOP election experts were digging for problems before Election Day and that the plaintiff conceded on election night. They called the case "an invitation to legislate from the bench" and said the plaintiff is misleading given that Harris County Republicans are not challenging Republican wins.

The judge expects the trial to take two weeks, and he will take time to issue his ruling, which he said he will not do from the bench, but rather in writing.

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