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Oriental Redneck
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Hopefully, there will be one red seat in Harris County, a county that was fully red before 2016.
A visiting judge found that illegal votes were cast in the contest between Judge DaSean Jones and challenger Tami Pierce


This story has been updated with a statement from Sen. Paul Bettencourt.

More than two years after Harris County’s chaotic 2022 general election, a visiting judge has ordered that a new election take place for the 180th State District Court due to illegal votes and disqualified votes that were improperly cast after hours.

Of more than one million votes cast, Harris County reported that incumbent Judge DaSean Jones defeated Republican challenger Tami Pierce by 449 votes, but in his ruling Judge David Peeples determined that 1,430 illegal votes were cast in the contest.

Peeples also found that some 321 votes were cast for Jones in after-hours voting that had been permitted under a local district court judge’s order — an order that was later stayed by the Supreme Court of Texas.

Pierce's attorney Paul Simpson said they were gratified by the decision. "Voluminous, detailed evidence compiled by witness Steve Carlin and dozens of other volunteers revealed many problems with the Harris County’s troubled November 2022 election. The court also ordered that opponent DaSean Jones owes Ms. Pierce over $65,000 in attorney’s fees due to his frivolous actions that have so long delayed this case. We hope judge Jones will not further delay justice by appealing but, instead, face Harris County voters in a new election when ordered by the court.”

Jones’ attorney is expected to appeal.

Pierce was one of 21 Republicans who filed legal election contests, but her case was delayed after Jones’ attorney Oliver Brown filed an anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) motion to dismiss.

While anti-SLAPP motions are typically used in free speech cases, Jones argued that the election contest infringed on his constitutional right to participate in government. In February 2023, visiting Judge David Peeples denied the motion, calling it “frivolous and solely intended to delay.”

Jones’ attorney “Downtown” Oliver Brown then filed an appeal with the Texas 1st Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel did not take up his appeal in November 2023 and earlier this year issued an opinion agreeing that the motion was frivolous. Administrative issues further delayed the trial until last month when Peeples heard testimony on April 1 and 2, 2024.

Of the 21 who originally filed election contests, four dropped their claims after discovery. Peeples granted summary judgment dismissing the claims of 15 others.

In the contest between Republican Erin Lunceford and Democrat Tamika Craft, Peeples issued a 35-page opinion noting that under former Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum, the county had violated state law that mandated the number of ballots to be provided to each polling site. Peeples also found that the county illegally counted ballots cast by voters who were not eligible because their registrations were canceled, they resided outside of the county, or they did not provide a signature or valid identification substitutions.

Despite the county’s inappropriate handling of the election, Peeples calculated that the number of votes affected totaled 2,779 — not enough to warrant a new election in other pending contests.

While declining to order new elections, Peeples also resolved a legal dispute over provisional ballots cast by voters who showed up to vote after 7 p.m. on Election Day. Although a district court judge ordered Harris County to keep polls open another hour, the Supreme Court of Texas later overturned the order but left the status of the ballots cast during that time in limbo; Peeples determined they were not valid and could not be included in the vote count.

A Texas Secretary of State’s (SOS) Office preliminary audit report found that Harris County violated state election code in 2022, and under new Texas law, the SOS could assign a conservator to the county if problems persist.

“Judge Peeples's decision to order a new election confirms what the Harris County GOP has been saying since 2022 — The previous election administrations' handling of our elections was beyond negligent, resulting in voters’ confidence in our elections being damaged,” said Harris County GOP Chairman Cindy Siegel.

Texas Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) praised the ruling and urged the county not to appeal.

“Those who said there was nothing wrong with Harris County’s Elections Administration Office were wrong. This is why I introduced legislation to return elections to the elected county clerk and the elected tax assessor-collector and voter registrar to make sure this never happens again in the nation’s third largest county,” said Bettencourt. “We should let this election take place this November.”

While still presiding over the 180th District Court in Harris County, Jones is a Democratic candidate for the Supreme Court of Texas this year.


Posts: 26518 | Location: TEXAS | Registered: September 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Shocked I tell ya!
Posts: 982 | Registered: July 14, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Short. Fat. Bald.

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I can't believe this happened in Sheila J Lee's county, since she runs a tight ship as we all know. Shame shame sham.

He looked like an accountant or a serial-killer type. Definitely one of the service industries.
Posts: 1996 | Location: Victoria, TX | Registered: February 11, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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