A judge has ordered a redo of the November 2022 election between Tami Pierce and DaSean Jones for the 180th District Court in Harris County after finding far more illegal votes were cast in the race than the margin of victory.

Pierce, a Republican, contested her 449-vote loss to Democrat incumbent Jones in January 2023, but the case was delayed for nearly a year by a motion to dismiss filed by Jones.

Judge David Peeples, a visiting judge from San Antonio, ruled Wednesday that the true outcome of the election cannot be determined and ordered a new election.

Following a bench trial in April, Peeples found that a total of 1,751 votes in the race should not have been counted, including nearly a thousand illegal votes cast by voters who resided outside of Harris County and more than four hundred cast by voters with no photo ID and incomplete “reasonable impediment” forms.

Hundreds more were improperly counted as a result of an “official mistake” by the Harris County Elections Administrator’s office, which has since been abolished.

According to the court’s judgment:

The court has found that 1430 illegal votes were cast in the race for the 180th District Court and that it is 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.

“The court holds that the true outcome cannot be determined.”

The court also found Jones’ motion to dismiss was “frivolous” and “calculated to delay the contest.”

Wednesday’s judgment ordered Jones to pay Pierce $66,000 in attorney’s fees and court costs.

Jones was first elected to the 180th District Court in 2018 and has continued to sit on the bench during the course of the election contest.

In March 2024, Jones won a Democrat primary for Texas Supreme Court Place 2.

A date for the new election between Pierce and Jones had not yet been determined.

Pierce’s contest was one of 21 election contests filed in Harris County by unsuccessful Republican candidates after the November 8, 2022, general election. Peeples presided over all the cases.

Only one of those contests went to trial, Republican Erin Lunceford’s challenge of the results showing Democrat Tamika Craft as the winner.

The court found more unlawful votes cast than Craft’s 2,743-vote margin but decided they did not put the “true outcome” in doubt.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.