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Harris County is already expecting late election results for the November midterms

Only two precincts can be tabulated at a time, but more equipment may be added in the future.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Election Day could turn into a long night in Harris County, as officials there are already warning about late results.

Harris County Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum says his office has been running scenarios and situations trying to calculate how long the vote count could take.

“Fingers crossed, we’re looking at 1 (a.m.), 1:30, maybe 2 o’clock is what we’re hoping for,” Tatum said on Inside Texas Politics.

And if a statewide race is close, that means big picture results could be delayed as well.

Tatum joined Inside Texas Politics from NRG Stadium in Houston, home to the county’s central count location. He says they built a “mini-city” inside the facility just for the election.

Harris County is using two machines to count votes from 782 different locations, the most precincts in the state. The equipment takes about a minute to read the data from each of those locations.

Tatum says they already have a third machine on hand. But they’re waiting to deploy it until they’ve run enough quality control tests on the first two, to make absolutely certain the readers are doing what they’re supposed to do.

“Part of our strategy is to ensure that we’re exercising quality control over the devices that are being read into the system,” the elections administrator told us. “Once we see that we’re able to control those particular devices, then we may actually ramp up to a third reader so that we’re actually processing more results than two at a time.”

Tatum says they won’t make any dramatic changes to the process this close to the election, so that third reader likely won’t be used this cycle.

Election Day is Nov. 8.

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