New documents filed by Harris County Judge candidate Alexandra Mealer claim that 32,000 “likely illegal ballots” were counted in her contested November 2022 election—more than her opponent Lina Hidalgo’s margin of victory.
Mealer, a Republican, lost her race against Democrat incumbent Hidalgo by 18,183 votes.
She filed an election contest in January, contending that Harris County Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum “committed systematic and widespread violations of Texas election law” that make the outcome of the election unknowable.
In her new filing on Thursday, Mealer’s attorneys say Harris County records indicate more than 32,000 ballots were counted in violation of Texas law:
In addition to paper supply shortages and equipment failures, election records indicate that Harris County counted more than 32,000 ballots that were likely illegal and should not have been included in total vote counts under the Texas Election Code.
That is almost double Hidalgo’s reported 18,183 vote margin over Mealer. If the evidence shows that the number of illegal votes exceeded Hidalgo’s margin of victory, then the result of the election cannot accurately be known based on voting records and the Court should order a new election.
Mealer’s team cites four main categories of ballots that should not have been counted:
- Voters who moved out of Harris County, according to the U.S. Postal Service’s National Change of Address data (27,000)
- Voters with canceled registrations (2,970)
- Voters whose registration was in “suspense” but did not fill out the required “Statement of Residence” form attesting that they were eligible Harris County voters (2,038)
- Mail-in ballots that did not undergo proper signature verification (700)
“An election is presumed valid when the law is followed,” said Mealer. “However, when there are widespread violations and disregard for the election code, the true results are unknowable and a new election must be ordered.”
The updated filing comes after Mealer hired a new attorney, Steven Mitby.
On Friday, Mealer announced a new website with information and updates about her case.
Mealer is one of 21 Republican candidates contesting the results of the November 2022 election over widespread failures by Tatum’s elections office, as well as multiple alleged violations of state election laws and procedures.
A judge just finished hearing two weeks of testimony in the first of the contests to go to court.
Republican candidate Erin Lunceford is challenging the results of her November race for 189th District Court Judge. Democrat Tamika Craft won the election by 2,743 votes, just 0.26 percent of more than a million votes cast.
Visiting Judge David Peeples said Thursday it will be “at least a month” before he rules in that case, which is expected to set a precedent for the other pending contests.
In addition to being the target of multiple election contests and other lawsuits challenging Tatum’s handling of the election, Harris was one of four counties chosen at random to be audited by the secretary of state’s office under a new state law passed in 2021.
Meanwhile, Hidalgo announced Monday on social media that she is on leave and has checked herself into an out-of-state facility for treatment of clinical depression.