HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Harris County Election Administrator Isabel Longoria's office on Saturday announced that they have identified approximately 10,000 mail-in ballots that were not added to the unofficial Election Night count.
The county said that approximately 6,000 of the uncounted ballots were for the Democratic primary and approximately 4,000 were for the Republican primary.
"The oversight occurred between the hours of 1 and 4 a.m. as the political parties that make up the Central Count Committee were reviewing ballots," Longoria's office said in a press release.
They said the votes were scanned into the tabulation machines but not transferred, which meant they were not being counted in the unofficial count on Election Night. The votes are set to be added to the final count when the Central Count Committee next meets on Tuesday, according to the elections administrator's office.
The county says it has reached out to the Secretary of State's office as an investigation into what happened takes place.
"We are committed to full transparency and will continue to provide updates as they are available," Longoria's office said.
The news late Saturday follows days of back and forth between the Harris County Republican Party and Harris County Elections Office. The GOP was calling for the firing or resignation of Longoria, calling the way the Texas Primary Elections ran a "fiasco."
The county’s Democrats weighed in, saying there may have been problems, but pointed at Senate Bill 1, the new elections law in Texas.
One thing both sides agree on -- there needs to be a review of Election Night.
In a statement Sunday to KHOU 11 News, the Harris County Elections Office said, "We are focused on ensuring that every ballot cast is accounted for through this canvassing process. We will continue to be transparent in that process through our updates but as you can imagine it is most critical that everyone on our team stay focused and commit all of their time to the task at hand. We will be discussing at commissioners court and that will be an opportunity for broadcast to hear from our office."
In response to the oversight, Democratic Party Chair for Harris County, Odus Evbagharu said, "I have spoken to the Election Administrators office this morning to share we must rectify this mistake immediately, understanding the urgency of ensuring every vote is counted and voice is heard. We expect action to be taken quickly. Voters should know the Harris County Democratic Party is actively monitoring the situation."
“It’s extremely concerning that after it was thought the ballot count was concluded early Thursday morning, we are now finding out the count did not include a significant number of votes. It is disappointing that we learned these votes were not counted through the media rather than directly from Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria.
“Every voter regardless of party should be able to have confidence that their vote has been properly counted. Unfortunately, this is another example of the serious mismanagement of Lina Hidalgo’s unqualified Elections Administrator. Isabel Longoria owes all Harris County voters an explanation.” - Harris County GOP Chairman Cindy Siegel.
Below is the full statement sent out by the Harris County Elections Office Saturday night.
"As we continue to run through the numerous checks and balances of the tallying process, we identified approximately 10,000 mail-in ballots (6,000 Democratic and 4,000 Republican) that were not added into the original Election Night count. The oversight occurred between the hours of 1 and 4 a.m. as the political parties that make up the Central Count Committee were reviewing ballots. While the votes were scanned into our tabulation computer, they were not transferred and counted as a part of the unofficial final results as they should have been. These votes will be added to the final count when the Central Count Committee next convenes on Tuesday.
We have reached out to and are working in coordination with the Secretary of State's Office as we investigate the missteps that took place in this process. We are committed to full transparency and will continue to provide updates as they are available.
While we understand the seriousness of this error, the ability to identify and correct this issue is a result of a lengthy, rigorous process and is a positive example of the process ultimately working as it should."
We'll continue to follow this developing story. Watch for updates on KHOU 11 and KHOU.com.