In 2020, despite strong opposition, Democrats on Harris County Commissioners Court, led by County Judge Lina Hidalgo, voted to move election administration and voter registration duties from the elected County Clerk and Tax Assessor/Collector officials into a brand-new office headed by an appointed Elections Administrator. This action created yet another county department, adding even more government bureaucracy and expense, while at the same time raising the specter of rampant political partisanship in the management of our local elections. After taking this questionable action, County Judge Hidalgo voted to appoint Ms. Isabel Longoria to the position of Election Administrator, even though Longoria had no experience running elections. Prior to her appointment, Longoria's experience was as a LGBTQ advocate, League of Women Voters board member, failed candidate for Houston City Council, and employee for other Democratic officials. Simply put, there was nothing in Isabel Longoria's resume that would qualify her to manage elections in the most populous county in Texas.
Fast forward to the March 2022 primary election. As it turns out, who knew stripping election management from established, elected offices and then appointing someone with no election management expertise to oversee our elections would end up being a complete disaster? Apparently not County Judge Lina Hidalgo. Poor staff training, poor staff oversight, poor equipment management, poor communication, poor coordination, delayed vote counts, around 10,000 votes cast but not initially tabulated, etc. all contributed to make Harris County's March 2022 election fiasco a state and national embarrassment. After initially making numerous excuses, Election Administrator Longoria eventually acknowledged she failed to properly perform her duties and submitted her resignation effective 7/1/22.
While Election Administrator Longoria is stepping down, that doesn't absolve County Judge Hidalgo of her fundamental role, and responsibility, in this fiasco. In my opinion, this is just another example of Judge Hidalgo's poor judgment, poor leadership, and frankly, incompetence, on full display. I urge the other Democrats on Commissioners Court to thoroughly review any future proposals submitted by County Judge Hidalgo before deciding whether to support her ideas.
For the media reports on this matter, please see the links below:
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