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Texas secretary of state says single piece of paper may solve ballot counting delays

The state's largest county, Harris County, failed to report primary election results within 24 hours as required by law.

DALLAS — Only one county in the state of Texas failed to report primary election results within 24 hours as required by law -- the state’s largest, Harris County.  

And Secretary of State John Scott says a single piece of paper could solve the problem moving forward.

“I think we need to look into how many ballots can be stuck into a scanner because I think that was an issue in the counties that had two different ballots that the voter had to use in their machine,” the Republican said on Inside Texas Politics. “So, I think having technology changes so that the voter is only dealing with one piece of paper is a fix that needs to take place.”

The ballot in Harris County was so large, it was spread out over two pieces of paper. The election administrator says some voters tried to feed both pieces into the machine at the same time, which caused some to get stuck. The county needed 30 hours to report full results.

Scott says Tarrant County also had a large ballot and used two pieces of paper. But they didn’t face the same magnitude of problems. It is also smaller than Harris County.

Watch the segment below:

“That’s what we’re looking at to find out was it a training issue in Harris County or was it a mechanical issue,” said Scott.

Scott says it’s also important not to overcorrect. So, he doesn’t see any need to extend the 24-hour deadline to report full election results.

“We don’t want to lose sight that 253 counties in this most recent election were able to do their election, get their returns done in the A.M. of the morning after the election was over,” he said.

Scott says the office still has no idea how many mail-in ballots may have been corrected by a voter and sent back in to be counted.  He says they’ll know that after the votes are canvassed, which will happen over the next couple of weeks.  

A canvass just makes sure every vote is counted and included in the final tally, including mail-in and overseas ballots.

The 2022 primary was the first large election held since Republicans changed voting laws in Texas last year. And despite Democrats equating the changes to voter suppression, turnout actually improved over the last midterm election in 2018.

“It appears to have gone swimmingly,” Scott said. “We’re just short of three million people who voted in this election. That’s an increase from the 2018 primary of almost 20%.”


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