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Legally responding to yet another Fort Bend County mistake during an already tumultuous election season, Missouri City is filing a lawsuit against the Office of the Elections Administrator for again disenfranchising citizens by not allowing them to vote early for the Dec. 12 Runoff at poll locations the County had confirmed to the City on Nov. 17.
John Oldham, FBC Elections Administrator, notified the City on Tuesday, Dec. 1 that contrary to the three poll locations his office provided to the City in mid-November, residents opting to vote early could only do so at one—the Missouri City Community Center, located at 1522 Texas Pkwy.
This directly contradicted Oldham’s directive to the City on Nov. 17, which noted that Missouri City residents could cast early ballots at the Community Center, the Quail Valley Fund Office, 3603 Glenn Lakes Lane, and Stafford City Hall, 2610 S. Main St.
Residents lodged grievances with the City on the first day of early voting — Monday, Nov. 30 – complaining that when they attempted to early vote at the Stafford polling location, they were turned away by Fort Bend County staff, in violation of their constitutional right.
Missouri City’s 2020 General/Runoff Election cycle has been continuously marked by issues, including several residents receiving mail-in ballots that were missing the City municipal elections, inoperable machines during early voting in October, the lack of transparency for poll workers who complained to the City that they were denied access by County officials during the final tabulation of votes, and the retabulation of more than 10,000 ballots from the Smart Financial Centre.
After the final count of ballots for the Nov. 3 General Election, County officials confirmed the necessity of a runoff for two incumbent City Councilmembers — Mayor Yolanda Ford and Chris Preston, Mayor Pro Tem and At-Large Position #2 Councilmember.
In the general election, Ford, who is the City’s first African-American Mayor and the first Mayor of color, received 49.92 percent of the citywide vote while candidate Robin Elackatt received 29.80 percent. Mayor Pro Tem Preston won 42.61 percent of the vote to candidate Lynn Clouser’s 46.07 percent. The slim .08 margin in the Mayoral race and the difference in the At-Large Position #2 contest resulted in the runoffs and will cost the City several thousand dollars in election administration fees.
The City’s lawsuit regarding the ongoing voting irregularities will be filed today with the Fort Bend County Clerk’s Office in Richmond. One of the issues that the City’s litigation specifies is that the County is in breach of its contract with the City and such breach has resulted in the disenfranchisement of Missouri City voters in Harris County Precinct 506, who are predominantly African-American.
To view the filed lawsuit, click here.
For updates, please watch the City website: www.missouricitytx.gov, like us on Facebook—fb/MissouriCityTX, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat—@MissouriCityTX and Nextdoor, watch Missouri City Television (Ch. 16 on Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT&T) or download the MCTX Mobile app (available for free in Google Play and the Apple app store).