A Texas county elections administrator resigned Tuesday after taking responsibility for an “oversight” that resulted in thousands of uncounted votes.
Isabel Longoria announced her intent to step down from her position as Harris County Elections Administrator during a meeting of the county commissioners. Her post oversaw the city of Houston and the surrounding county, which happens to be Texas’ most populous.
“Today I am submitting my resignation effective July 1,” Longoria said, suggesting it allowed for oversight to continue through the May runoff elections and provided ample time for a replacement to be appointed.
— Urban Reform (@urbanreformorg) March 8, 2022
Longoria had already come under fire for missing the mandatory deadline of 24-hours to have all ballots counted. Harris County took 30 hours to complete their count, the Associated Press reported. Saturday, after the March 1 primary, election officials uncovered that 10,000 mail-in ballots had been tabulated but not counted.
Of the votes, 6,000 were Democratic and 4,000 were Republican. Though in this instance no election results were altered by the error, Longoria said, “Ultimately, the buck stops with me to address these issues and conduct elections on behalf of the voters. I didn’t meet my own standards.”
Before her resignation, Longoria had spoken with Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo who had indicated a change would be necessary in the position. Hidalgo, whom Fox News reported is a progressive Democrat, is the same county judge who appointed Longoria to the newly created position in 2020.
Proud to announce we've appointed Isabel Longoria as our new Elections Administrator to continue the work of interim clerk Hollins. The position will build on the progress we’ve made in our elections systems and make sure we remain a national model for elections.
— Lina Hidalgo (@LinaHidalgoTX) October 30, 2020
“It is vital, particularly give the pandering that has taken hold over the past few years around our nation that voters understand that while several aspects of this election…were problematic,” Hidalgo offered, “we have no evidence to suggest that the full count once certified…is not accurate.”
“We don’t need to go there,” Hidalgo added, “because that tears down trust in our electoral system.”
Despite Hidalgo’s aversion, Longoria had already brought the Texas primary into that dialogue when Harris County filed suit against Texas mail-in voting laws. Longoria testified in February that she felt she was unable to provide information to voters under threat of a $10,000 fine or jail time.
“I stop mid-sentence sometimes at these town halls and say ‘The law prevents me from saying much more. If you have a question, good luck and call us,'” Longoria testified.
Prior to Longoria’s resignation, the Harris County Republican Party (HCRP) filed a lawsuit for her removal. Referring to her conduct as “intentional and willful,” the suit requested an injunction against Longoria noting a number of other irregularities under her oversight.
These included ballots on improperly sized paper that failed to allow for all candidates’ names to appear, poor quality paper that smudged and reduced accuracy of ballots, and utilization of damaged voting machines that had not been calibrated or tested.
Since Longoria’s resignation, the HCRP issued a statement continuing the call for oversight of the upcoming runoff elections that they had requested as part of their suit.
We called for Elections Admin Isabel Longoria to be fired. Today, she submitted her resignation effective July 1. But Harris County still needs independent oversight in the May elections.
— Harris County GOP (@HarrisCountyRP) March 8, 2022
In the release, Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi pointed out, “Texas Democrats wasted their own constituents’ time by boycotting the Texas legislative session to decry commonsense election integrity efforts, only to end up unable to complete the most basic of tasks in running an election.”
“Isn’t it ironic,” Rinaldi continued, “how the only people who screamed voter suppression are the same people unable to administer an election?”
Texas State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R) told Fox News that a July 1 resignation wasn’t enough. “Longoria makes $190,000 a year. By making her resignation effective on July 1, her incompetence is rewarded at the taxpayers’ expense.”
“If she was so incompetent,” Briscoe added, “why are they going to keep her around for the primary and other elections that are coming between now and July?”
Neither Hidalgo’s office nor the office of elections administrators have offered further comment.
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