Judge rules Texas county must hold new election for 2022 judicial race

A visiting judge in Texas determined that a new election was warranted in Harris County, after a close 2022 judicial race in the county included over a thousand illegal and disqualified votes.

The ruling follows a state-launched an investigation into the voting irregularities in the election two years ago.  It also comes after an audit found there were problems with the county’s voter registration data, the county failed to provide necessary supplies to polling places and there were equipment issues and incomplete paperwork.

Judge David Peeples completed his own hearing into the alleged misconduct last month, after multiple Republicans filed legal election contests. Peeples said a total of 1,430 illegal votes were cast in the judicial election, which meant there should be a new election because incumbent Judge DaSean Jones only defeated Republican challenger Tami Pierce by 449 votes.

Peeples also said that 321 ballots were cast for Jones in after-hours voting, which had originally been allowed by a lower court, but was overturned by the state Supreme Court. 

“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,” Paul Simpson, an attorney for Pierce, told The Texan. “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.”

The Harris County Republican Party also praised the verdict in a statement on Wednesday, claiming that trust in the election process has been restored. 

“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,” Harris County GOP Chairman Cindy Siegel said. “This decision is monumental and makes it clear to anyone running elections in the state of Texas that if they don’t follow the letter of the law, there will be consequences.”

She continued: “While Tami Pierce came out on top in this case, the real winner is the Harris County voter, who can now have some faith restored in our electoral process.”

Peeples also awarded Pierce with over $65,000 that will be paid by Jones, because of his “frivolous” attempt to dismiss the case last year. No date has been selected for the new election for the 180th District Court so far.

Jones’s lawyer Oliver Brown said he will appeal the ruling, per the Texas Tribune.

Misty Severi is an evening news reporter for Just the News. You can follow her on X for more coverage.