On December 18, 2020, the Fort Bend County Elections Commission held a meeting to debrief on the successes and failures of the 2020 elections process. Numerous issues and errors were brought to light, but unless Fort Bend county residents watched the video of the meeting or read the minutes, they are unaware of the problems.
Katy Christian Magazine Publisher Joseph Menslage following the November election. Since then, the magazine has been gathering data to show that residents should have a high level of concern when it comes to the voting procedures and subsequent results of votes collected in the county.
The December 18 video and meeting minutes disclose numerous problems that arose during the voting process. John Oldham, Elections Administrator, provided a report of the strengths and weaknesses encountered throughout the year, but particularly during the November election . In attendance were County Judge and Chair KP George, County Clerk Laura Richard, Vice Chair and County Tax Assessor/Collector Carrie Surratt, Republican Party Chair and Secretary Linda Howell, and Democratic Party Chair Cynthia Ginyard. Attorneys were also present for the debrief.
Oldham provided an overview of the election cycle and areas of concern. According to the minutes, this was the outline of his points:
• The poll books had incorrect dates.
• There was cross-pollination of kiosks.
• Testing the system with all running at the same time.
• The unprecedented number of ballots by mail caused Elections to be behind.
• The system had to be retested which took a week due to many minor political subdivisions on the ballot.
• There was a delay of two more days due to the suit involving the straight party. • The size of the ballot had to have a small but readable font and the ballots could not be run through a folding machine. There were 39,000 ballots that had to be folded by hand.
• Many temps were hired.
• Around 600 poll workers had to be trained which was a challenge.
Also recorded in the minutes was the following:
“Judge KP George indicated there are a few examples in which he calls lack of planning or not having a backup plan.
• Communicating with the Elections office and not getting a timely response.
• There was no plan on how to deal with ongoing check-in machine issues.
• On Election Day, at one or two locations, the polls could not open on time because the Election Judge did not test run the machines the day before Election Day.
Judge felt there was lack of coordination and planning.”
Concerns were raised about voters who never received their mail-in ballots and voters who were turned away at the polls, but were never reported, per protocol. IT issues arose that required support, the moving of equipment, and solving connectivity issues.
In response, according to the minutes, Howell explained that “the Elections Administrator’s office was inundated by meetings, attacks and questions continually. There were problems, but there are going to be problems. If Fort Bend County had the highest voter participation in Texas, there was not voter suppression.”
Ginyard disagreed, stating that “there are issues all the time with the Elections process. This is not a perfect process. There is one precinct in Missouri City and one precinct in Harris County that votes in the Missouri City election. Precinct 5 or 6 – Harris County, City of Missouri City did not receive their ballot by mail. There were 387 who did not get their ballots. Ballots by mail went out prior to Early Voting and these voters had 5 days to get their ballots by mail in. Whether this was intentional, accidental or overlooked, it is all voter suppression.”