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Harris County Democratic party disputes GOP claim that ballot paper shortage at polls was intentional

The Republican party claimed that thousands of local voters were potentially disenfranchised on Election Day for various reasons.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — The Harris County GOP made several allegations at a press conference on Thursday regarding the Nov. 8 election.

The party claimed that thousands of local voters were potentially disenfranchised on Election Day for various reasons.

The Republican party attorney said 23 polling sites did not have enough paper for the ballots, and as a result, had to turn away voters.

RELATED: Harris County Elections administrator can't answer why polling locations ran out of paper

GOP leaders went a step further, claiming the polling sites that ran out of paper were in Republican strongholds and said they believe it may have been done intentionally.

“If you run the math, if there were 350 people turned away from the poll, not allowed to vote and you have 782 locations, it’s not a leap of logic to believe that we are going to be in the tens of thousands of people who were wrongfully turned away," Harris County GOP attorney Andy Taylor said.

KHOU 11 political expert Bob Stein took issue with these claims. He said people don't often vote at the polling site closest to where they live and that you can't reliably determine how someone will vote based on the location of a polling site in Harris County.

Harris County Democratic Party Chair Odus Evbagharu also disputed the GOP's assertions.

"The claim that there was, like, thousands and thousands of people who were disenfranchised, there's no claim to that, there's no proof of that," Evbagharu said.

Wednesday morning, Harris County elections administrator Clifford Tatum said his office received several requests from election judges claiming they had run out of paper. That same day, he said he could not explain the cause for the paper shortage and said his office had millions of pages of paper to be used for the election.

On Thursday, after the GOP made its allegations, Tatum issued the following statement:

“Once we complete our canvassing process, we will turn our attention to a post-election review and report.”

RELATED: Expert weighs in on possible legal action related to late votes cast in Harris County

GOP leaders also claimed that they weren't made aware of court hearings the county held late Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

County Attorney Christian Menefee refuted these claims and issued the following statement:

“Not only was the Secretary of State’s office aware that the county would be seeking a court order—as required by law—for additional time to continue the vote count, they guided us through the process before we filed with the court. Senator Bettencourt’s suggestion that the state was not aware is false.”

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis filed a lawsuit Wednesday night, requesting a judge grant election workers more time to count mail-in ballots. A judge approved the request and a virtual status hearing was scheduled for 2 p.m. on Thursday.

The hearing was supposed to be open online, but the judge made the decision not to stream it. We are still working to find out why.

According to Harris Votes, all votes cast on Election Day have been tabulated as of 3:12 p.m.

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