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Texas secretary of state to send inspectors to observe vote counting in Harris County

The Texas Secretary of State’s Workplace knowledgeable officers within the state’s most populous county in a letter Tuesday that it’s going to ship inspectors to watch vote counting in the course of the November election.

In a letter to Harris County Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum, the director of the secretary of state’s forensic audit division, Chad Ennis, wrote that an audit of the county, which is house to Houston and leans Democratic, had discovered “critical breaches of correct elections information administration” within the dealing with of cell poll bins within the Nov. 2020 basic election. The letter got here lower than every week earlier than the beginning of early voting within the state.

Ennis stated preliminary findings within the secretary of state’s audit embrace “no less than 14 places the place chain-of-custody documentation is missing at finest and lacking at worst.”

In gentle of these findings, Ennis wrote that the secretary of state’s workplace will present “a contingent of inspectors” to the county to “carry out randomized checks on election information” and “observe the dealing with and counting of ballots and digital media.”

The workplace of Texas Legal professional Normal Ken Paxton has additionally agreed to dispatch a job power to Harris County that “will likely be accessible always in the course of the election interval in an effort to instantly reply to any authorized points recognized by secretary of state, inspectors, ballot watchers, or voters,” Ennis wrote.

In an announcement to NBC Information, the Secretary of State’s Workplace stated it sends inspectors to many counties throughout state elections, together with Harris County, citing Chapter 34 of the Texas Election Code.

“Our inspectors and trainers will likely be current to assist Harris County officers and make sure the election course of is run easily and securely within the upcoming November basic election, and that the errors noticed previously will not be repeated, and that no eligible voters have their votes discounted due to administrative errors,” as spokesman for the secretary of state’s workplace, Sam Taylor, stated.

Taylor dismissed any criticism over the transfer, saying that any group that makes an attempt to forged it as “an try to sow mistrust or intimidate voters” is “mendacity.”

NBC Information reached out to the Harris County election administrator for remark.

The overview in Texas was launched final yr after former President Donald Trump pushed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for an examination of the 2020 election leads to the state, which Trump gained handily. The secretary of state’s workplace introduced hours later that it had begun evaluations in Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Collin counties, that are the 2 largest Democratic and two largest Republican ones, respectively.

The overview got here amid comparable efforts by Republicans in a number of different states as Trump sought to to undermine the outcomes of the 2020 presidential election with baseless allegations of voter fraud.

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