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Sen. Bettencourt Expects Criminal Findings in County Election Investigation

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State Senator Paul Bettencourt | Image by WFAA

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State Senator Paul Bettencourt, a Houston Republican, expects crimes to be uncovered in an ongoing investigation into Harris County’s elections.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg confirmed on November 16 that she opened an investigation into the county’s midterm elections.

“Free and fair elections are the bedrock of our democracy,” Ogg said in a statement. “When we get credible complaints of election irregularities, we are statutorily required to investigate.”

Governor Greg Abbott first called for an investigation into the “widespread problems” of Harris County elections in a statement released on November 14.

“The allegations of election improprieties in our state’s largest county may result from anything ranging from malfeasance to blatant criminal conduct,” he said.

“Voters in Harris County deserve to know what happened. Integrity in the election process is essential,” the governor asserted. “To achieve that standard, a thorough investigation is warranted.”

The Harris County Republican Party filed a lawsuit alleging the county and elections administrator, Clifford Tatum, violated the Texas elections code by mishandling damaged ballots and failing to supply enough ballot paper at 23 polling locations.

Bettencourt claimed the shortages prevented some people from being able to vote.

“You’ve got 23 polls that seemed to have run out of paper or weren’t given enough to start with, and they weren’t followed up with to get more ballots to those polls in a timely manner,” said Bettencourt.

He continued, “One precinct judge had to dismiss 150 people from line. Think about that. You’ve got a line that’s 150 deep, and you’re out of paper, and you have to dismiss them.”

“It’s abominable that a government puts on an election, and then they don’t give voters ballots … That’s really what happened here,” Bettencourt said on the program, Texas: The Issue Is.

“Between that, and machine difficulties, and the fact that election judges are just crying out for more ballots, it really is voter suppression because people went to the polls, and they couldn’t vote.”

Bettencourt continued, “If you don’t have enough election supplies, that’s a Class C misdemeanor. And the warehouse was full of paper, full of ballot paper.”

He added, “If you don’t give it out — willingly or effectively — if you deny somebody that election paper, it’s a Class B misdemeanor.”

“These are real voter irregularities that have to be researched and investigated because they could have made the difference in the election,” he said. “And I’ve never seen the public so outraged.”

On Inside Texas Politics, Bettencourt was asked whether he was supporting Donald Trump’s recently announced bid for the 2024 presidential election, and he answered, “Right now, my focus is on this because I want to make sure that everybody understands that this effort is not about being an election denier.”

“And what this means is that we’ve got to have immediate action,” he continued. “We’ve got to have an investigation. So, I’m not going to be involved in any other political activity until we get to the bottom of this mess in Harris County.”

The communications director for the Harris County elections administration denied requests for comment as the investigation is ongoing.

We welcome and appreciate comments on The Dallas Express as part of a healthy dialogue. We do ask that you be kind. Kind to each other and to everyone else in your comments. For more information, please refer to our Complete Comment Moderation Policy.

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Bill Fox
Bill Fox
7 days ago

The “crime” will likely be incompetence or just mistakes. Are theses guys the same group that reduced early voting days and got rid of most of Harris County’s ballot drop boxes? But, hey, now they are against voter suppression. Lol. Weak. Plus, was there any race that was within 150 votes? I suspect not.

Anna Williams
Anna Williams
Reply to  Bill Fox
7 days ago

Mr. Fox, spot on! Please add gerrymandering to this. I bet the warehouse was locked so the opposing party couldn’t get ballots or paper.

We have heard this before. Abbott and the State Senator need to stop lying.

They have been given tons of donations to build the wall. Show us the money, at 74 they have been building the wall. Give these people a work visa. Or give the Governor and State Senator a work visa. Because they do nothing! Sir you told the truth.

Vanessa
Vanessa
Reply to  Bill Fox
7 days ago

150 were asked to leave the line, how about those who were turned away after that, who showed up later, no mention of that, huh? I have tried to steer clear of my opinion of the Donkey Party, by saying to myself, it’s the politicians that are so immorally corrupt. Now i realize after this last election, i include the Donkey electorate, with all the issues that this country faces and they re-elect the same, dare i say “Donkey
Crooks”.
Who is in line getting “FREE” stuff? The Donkey electorate. You get what get bc
You do what do. I just hate that everyone has to suffer for their blind loyalty.

Ray Sheriff
Ray Sheriff
Reply to  Bill Fox
7 days ago

150 voters at one place, Please learn to read and comprehend !!!

Djea3
Djea3
Reply to  Bill Fox
7 days ago

Listen youngun. For 250 years we all voted on the same day. The ONLY people allowed to vote otherwise were non-ambulatory and military and those on foreign assignments for government or company, PERIOD

The bars were CLOSED BY LAW in all states until after 8PM when precincts closed. EVERY EMPLOYER BY LAW had to give time to the employee to vote if it was asked for. We had to show our State ISSUED ID. We had to prove our citizenship in order to be on the voting rolls to begin with. NOT one person questioned that the polls were honest NOT ONE.

There is no excuse for the youth’s feelings of ENTITLEMENT to early voting at all. In fact one of the MAJOR negatives that there WILL be VOTER FRAUD from mail in voting as a standard method. Another major negative is that many times TRUTH comes out about a candidate in the last week or two of the election. One can NOT retract their mail in vote in most places. DANGEROUS PROBLEM.

To date my wife has received FOUR MAIL IN BALLOTS. SHE NEVER ASKED FOR ANY AT ALL. SHE IS NOT A REPUBLICAN. I AM. I HAVE NEVER RECEIVED A MAIL IN BALLOT. EXPLAIN this discrepancy to me?

MY Wife has reported the ILLEGAL SENDING OF A MAIL IN BALLOT three times so far. And guess what, there has been NO INVESTIGATION and no change to anything.

Rachelle
Rachelle
Reply to  Djea3
1 day ago

It not only happened in Harris county. Dallas county need to be investigated, as well.

Janet
Janet
Reply to  Bill Fox
5 days ago

Yes, they are the same. They thought they had it so gerrymandered, and rigged in their favor, there was no way they could lose. Had to be fraud SOMEWHERE!

Mike Brewster
Mike Brewster
Reply to  Bill Fox
1 day ago

That’s a 150 at one time and at one location. That’s also people known to be in line. It doesn’t consider people that they may have turned around in the parking lot.

Having enough ballots is the first thing to consider in an election. If you can’t get the right paper to a polling site, you are either acting criminally a=or you are not capable as acting as an adult. As there would be many more people than one working on such issues, it leans towards the criminal aspect.

Ballot boxes have one purpose and one purpose only. To avoid federal mail fraud charges for ballot harvesting. If you can find a ballot drop box, you can find a mail box. If you can’t afford or find a stamp maybe something other than voting should be your priority.

As to the period of time allowed for early voting, it was 12 days long plus election day. If you can’t get there in that period of time when you know years inadvance when it is going to occur, you likely need to realign your priorities.

jake gallerano
jake gallerano
7 days ago

It’s too bad Bettencourt and Abbott lack credibility. Bettencourt whitewashed the Uvalde school shooting investigation, and he, as well as this paper, have ignored the fraud accusations the Texas Tribune reported concerning the a private prison contractor. Given The Express’ endless crusade against all things criminal(and yes, I being facetious), one would think that this type multi-million dollar fraud would be mentioned. Has the Texas State Senate appointed n official auditor yet? The absence of an Auditor invites abuse on a large and continual basis. It’s difficult to view The Express’ reporting as anything short of pandering bias. Credibility is earned, and the state senator, governor and this paper(?) consistently prove they lack it. But, such is the nature of political power and its sycophants in Texas.

Ray Sheriff
Ray Sheriff
Reply to  jake gallerano
7 days ago

Have you seen the pictures of the Uvalde police inside the school with ballistic shealds and AR rifles texting and not doing their job like scared little children. People died because they didn’t do their job when a month before they held a mass shooter drill. You need to turn off mainstream media.

David
David
7 days ago

Glad we have an alternative to the left MSM. Houston sure has changed since I grew up there. Rep like Shiela Lee are an embarrassment to all of Texas. We have dumbed down so many political leaders. I would bet there are some election officials in Houston that are sweating bullets today. If anyone wants to know what an open border will do to a city look no further than Houston and San Antonio.

Donna
Donna
7 days ago

Good, these “irregularities” need to be stopped, it is high time people involved in defrauding voters, cheating in ballot counts, and fraudulent election results were treated as the crimes and treason that they are.

Ray Sheriff
Ray Sheriff
7 days ago

This is voter suppression, this how the liberals control elections from the Atlantic ocean to the Pacific ocean. They need to go to Jail Now and be fined $1,000 per vote not cast out of their personal bank account.

Djea3
Djea3
7 days ago

Actually, the dismissal of voters should be an automatic arrest and conviction. WTH IS A “PRECINCT JUDGE”? SOMEONE WITH AUTHORITY TO THROW OUT VOTERS?
Just with that ONE incidence, the entire vote should be retaken in entirety. OR EVERYONE who states that their vote was turned away needs to be able to vote and then a new count.

Anna Williams
Anna Williams
Reply to  Djea3
6 days ago

Yeah you think Abbott will ask for a recount, when they got 60% of the votes.

Voter suppression has been going on for 50 years. You think they are going to stop now. If people don’t stop lying, we will never have an honest election. It’s not the donkey it’s the elephant with his foot on peoples neck.

Rep. Lee had to go to Court because of the elephant’s Gerrymandering her District. But she won!

Dax9
Dax9
Reply to  Anna Williams
1 day ago

It’s BOTH parties who are complicit in this crime “family” – thus the term “uniparty.” Both sides need a house-cleaning.

Dax9
Dax9
Reply to  Djea3
1 day ago

How about NO presiding judges at any polling location throughout all of early voting? The local EA appointed herself presiding judge over ALL polling locations for EV. Legislation needs to prevent this because an EA cannot belong to both parties at the same time and serve as a presiding judge at all locations simultaneously.