Super Tuesday voting mix-up throws spotlight on Texas’ most populous county

Kim Ogg, the Democratic district attorney in Harris County, Texas, is raising alarms about voting procedures there after she was turned away from the polls early Tuesday morning because her ballot had already been cast.

In a statement posted on X, Harris County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth said that Ogg’s life partner – with whom the district attorney shares an address – had inadvertently cast a ballot in Ogg’s name during early voting last week.

Ogg, whose name is on Tuesday’s primary ballot, successfully voted later Tuesday, but she told CNN that the incident raises questions about how it happened in the first place, whether similar mistakes have affected voters in the same household and whether local election officials have a system to track such errors.

Ogg and her partner – Olivia Jordan – do not share a last name, and each had to present identification to vote.

“I’m the top law enforcement official in the third-biggest jurisdiction in the nation,” Ogg said in a telephone interview. “If it can happen to the district attorney, it can happen to anyone.”

An official in the Harris County clerk’s office said the issue had been resolved and the clerk would not have a further statement.

The incident comes as the county – a Democratic stronghold that includes Houston – remains under scrutiny from Republican state officials. Just last year, the county’s election office was dismantled and its responsibilities shifted to the county clerk and county tax assessor-collector under a law approved by the GOP-controlled state Legislature. A separate statute gave the state the power to order “administrative oversight” of the county’s election administration if there’s evidence of recurring problems.

In the social media statement about the incident, Hudspeth, a Democrat, said that in the process of “qualifying a voter” during check-in, “each voter is asked to review and confirm the information that appears on the iPad screen, including the voter’s name. If the information that appears on the screen is not accurate, the voter must notify the election clerk.”

The statement adds that Jordan “must not have noticed the information was not hers” because she signed in using her own name.

Ogg, who faces a competitive primary Tuesday, said it’s the job of election officials to protect the integrity of voting.

“The entire reason that we have election judges and poll workers is to prevent voter fraud, so checking the ID against the person who is voting and against the rolls is entirely the job of the clerk,” she said. “I was shocked when they pushed it back on the voter.”

“My partner wasn’t trying to commit fraud,” Ogg added. “She was just trying to vote.”

Ogg said she spent more than hour at her polling place trying to resolve the issue early Tuesday morning before returning to vote at noon once the error had been corrected.

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