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Judge Orders Redo Of 2022 Judicial Race In Texas After More Than 1,400 Illegal Votes Cast

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A judge ordered that a 2022 Texas judicial election must be redone after finding more than a thousand illegal ballots were cast, far exceeding the margin of victory.

Judge David Peeples ruled Wednesday that the 2022 race between Republican Tami Pierce and Democrat DaSean Jones for the 180th District Court in Harris County must be held again after finding “the true outcome [of the election] cannot be determined.”

Pierce contested the race after losing by just 449 votes to incumbent Jones. Jones, however, filed a motion to dismiss — which was later rebuked by Peebles as being “frivolous.”

Peeples ultimately found 1,430 invalid votes were cast, and declared it was “not realistic or feasible to determine which candidate received those votes.”

“The court has also found that a net margin of 321 votes (1146 to 825) were cast for Jones over Pierce in the extended one hour of voting on Election Day, which the court has found resulted from an official mistake by the Harris County Elections Administration Office,” Peeples wrote.

Pierce argued, in part, that 953 votes were cast by “out-of-county residents whose [Statement of Residence forms] show on their face a residence other than Harris County” and that 245 voters “submitted incomplete [Statements of Residence], which gave no information about their residence.” If a voter has changed residences but still lives in Harris County, he must submit a Statement of Residence testifying that he still meets the residency requirements for voting there.

The judge found both of Pierce’s arguments were true, though the totals he reached were slightly different. Peeples found there were 606 votes cast by voters whose Statement of Residence showed a location outside the county and an additional 146 ballots were counted from voters who listed their residence as being in a “nearby town or city without stating any county of residence.

“The 752 votes resting on these [Statements of Residence] were not lawful and should not be counted,” Peeples wrote.

Additionally, “231 [Statement of Residence forms] were filled out by the voter so incompletely — with the spaces for former residence and current residence totally blank — that it was not lawful to approve them and they should not be counted.”

In total, the judge found that 983 votes were “cast by persons whose residence is outside Harris County” and therefore were “illegal votes” that never should have been counted.

In addition to the votes that should have been disqualified for residency issues, Peeples found another 445 votes were cast by voters who failed to meet a voter ID requirement. And dozens of mail-in ballots should have been rejected, Peeples concluded, for lacking the required signature and for not being returned on time.

A date for the redo has not been scheduled. Jones was also ordered to pay Pierce’s attorney fees.

Harris County was the subject of multiple other election challenges filed by Republicans, such as one in which GOP candidate Erin Lunceford challenged the outcome of a race she lost to Democrat Tamika Craft. Peeples, who also presided over that case, acknowledged that “illegal conduct” by the Harris County Elections Administration Office regarding ballot paper likely disenfranchised “250 to 850 lawful voters” and that “there were 2041 illegal votes” in that election. Nevertheless, Peeples ruled those problems were “not enough to make the true outcome unknowable in an election with a 2743-vote margin.”


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