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Harris County polls close after 1-hour extension

Polling locations were open an hour later -- until 8 p.m. -- on Election Day due to countywide voting issues.
Credit: AP
Voters wait in line at a polling place at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs in Austin, Texas, on election night, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — All 782 Harris County polling locations were open an extra hour on Election Day due to a court order that was filed over issues at the polls throughout the day.

All Harris County polling locations were open until 8 p.m.

Voters who got in line after 7 p.m. were able to cast provisional ballots but the Texas Supreme Court later said those votes would not be counted.

Provisional ballots were placed into a sealed envelope instead of being inserted into the scanning machine.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Texas Civil Right Project filed an emergency court order against Harris County to secure the extra hour of voting. Shortly after filing, a judge signed and approved the request. Shortly after that, the Texas Supreme Court announced the provisional votes cast after 7 p.m. would not count.

Harris County Election Administrator Clifford Tatum said the extra hour was granted due to late starts and other issues at various voting locations across the county. Tatum said his office is looking into what went wrong.

"The additional hour provides voters with the opportunity to cast their ballot if they were unable to do so as intended this morning. We are reviewing the circumstances surrounding these late starts," Tatum said during a news conference just before 7 p.m.

Early voting results started to be released at 8 p.m. Tatum said final results will likely be delayed on election night.

Tatum said the provisional ballots would be "set to the side" until he is told what to do with them.

Tatum provides update

After the judge signed the order, Tatum made a public statement and answered questions:

Voting issues in Harris County

Several issues delayed voting across the county on Election Day.

A city worker was electrocuted causing a power outage at a park and forcing the Melrose Park voting location to close.

RELATED: Electrocution prompts closure of Melrose Park voting site, Harris County Elections says

Several people at different polling locations said voting machines were the reason for delays.

The election judge at BakerRipley on Navigation Boulevard said they were slow to open because they didn't have the proper election supplies dropped off, including the key to open voting machines.

RELATED: Polling places plagued by issues across Harris County

Voters at the Tracy Gee Community Center reported being sent away to vote elsewhere because of machine problems.

Around 5:30 p.m. there was about a 45-minute wait at the West Gray multi-service polling location. The polling site had an issue Tuesday morning when 20 machines were down.

Harris County elections officials said some locations were dealing with paper shortages.

At NRG Arena, 21 of the 44 voting machines were down around 5:45 p.m.

If you have any issues at the polls, text KHOU at 713-526-1111.

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Court document

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