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Multiple factors played part in Harris County ballot oversight, KHOU 11 political analyst says

KHOU 11 News Political Analyst Bob Stein said there were some things that happened at the polls that led to the oversight of about 10,000 ballots.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — KHOU 11 News Political Analyst Bob Stein said there are a handful of factors that led to about 10,000 mail-in ballots not being added to the unofficial Election Night count.

RELATED: Harris Co. elections office says 'oversight' led to about 10K mail-in ballots not being in unofficial count

County officials said about 6,000 of the uncounted ballots were for the Democratic primary and about 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. "We are committed to full transparency and will continue to provide updates as they are available."

Stein said one of the issues that led to the problem was the poll workers.

"Many poll workers have told us they’ve had tremendous difficulty operating, equipping, staffing and getting help on ... Election Day,” he said.

Harris County adopted a new voting system this year. Stein said poll workers and voters were using it for the first time.

RELATED: Thousands of Texas mail-in votes still in jeopardy under new GOP voting restrictions“There has been real difficulty in training poll workers and poll judges," Stein said.

Stein said the Secretary of State’s new requirement that mandates poll workers at each regional site to physically bring secured ballot boxes to one location was also a factor.

“Harris County is not just big in population, it's a huge geographical area. Getting the poll books and ballot boxes as they were, or the mediums, on the computers into a central tabulation center at NRG takes time," he said.

Both parties have responded to the admission of the oversight.

The Harris County Democratic Party Chair sent this statement: “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." - Harris County Democratic Chair Odus Evbagharu

RELATED: Harris County Democrats fire back after Republicans call primary election 'a fiasco'

The Harris County GOP Chair sent this statement: “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

Stein said the lessons need to be learned before November.

“Not so much who is to blame, but what is to be done to correct the problems,” Stein said.

Longoria's office 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.

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."

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