Fort Bend County will extend early voting hours for the rest of the week in response to issues voters faced on day one.
On Tuesday morning, polling places got off to a rocky start after reported errors became common at multiple locations.
ABC13 received numerous calls and messages from viewers in the county reporting that they weren’t able to vote. Shortly before 9:15 a.m., a precinct judge at a Missouri City polling place said the issue had been resolved and people were able to begin voting.
SkyEye was over the area in Sugar Land, where people were outside City Hall and Smart Financial Centre.
Still, outside of the event center, Fort Bend County Judge KP George said that for at least one hour there was an error in their program, delaying voting.
“Definitely apologize for that inconvenience, and as I understand, the machines are back,” George said. “The Smart Financial where we are right now, it is up and running. We are back online, and I hope there won’t be any distractions for voting. Once again… I just wanted to say sorry for what happened and we will be doing an investigation. We will be holding those responsible for it accountable. What happened is not OK, not acceptable in Fort Bend County.”
George later released this full statement:
I am extremely disappointed with the technical glitches that riddled Fort Bend County Election machines this morning. Remember, people have died for our right to vote. Stay in line or come back at a convenient time – the future of our country depends on us. You have three weeks to vote early. Remember, we have also extended the hours on the last three days
The lines are long for early voting at every polling location in Fort Bend County early Tuesday, but it’s not just because of the increased turnout.
County officials are working to fix a technical glitch that prevented the polls from opening at their scheduled time of 8 a.m.
County leaders said the machines didn’t have today’s date programmed so they wouldn’t work when the polls opened.
“They were not programmed to start this morning. And that had to be reprogrammed,” Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton said.
He said they are investigating whether it was intentional, but said it could be because they’re using “state-of-the-art machines” for only the second time.
The delays came on the first day of early voting.
“I was extremely disappointed with the technical issues,” In a tweet just after 9 a.m., County Judge KP George. “Those who are responsible will be held accountable. In an era voter where suppression is real, I will authorize a full investigation and call for accountability.”
INTERACTIVE MAP: Where you can vote early in Fort Bend County
Many voters from Sugar Land to Missouri City told KHOU 11 they lined up extra early to vote and stood in line for nearly two hours before being told the polls were not opening on time.
My friend Marlon in Fort Bend county just waited 7 HOURS in line to vote due to avoidable technical errors that forced many to leave before casting their ballots. Join me in supporting Fort Bend county judge @JudgeKPGeorge’s effort to extend voting hours to make up for lost time. pic.twitter.com/P1BPs9P7ag
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) October 13, 2020
Beto O’Rourke tweeted photos of an elderly man with a