As I mentioned here, I didn’t think that the Harris County Republican Party would agree to a joint primary. And the party ultimately decided not to participate in a joint primary for the following reasons:
- Delay: We remember 2008. Over 410,000 people voted in that Harris County Democrat presidential primary. You can expect at least as many voters and even longer lines in the 2020 Democrat primary. By contrast, with a unified Republican party, we expect the GOP primary turnout to be much smaller. Making Republican voters wait in Democrat lines would discourage voting–which is the opposite of your stated goals.
- Confusion: We have had reports of Democrat election workers coercing Republican voters. The Democrat Party habitually accuses Republicans of intimidation. With the inevitable imbalance of personnel, one party’s workers at a poll would wholly or partly manage the other party’s primary at many locations. That would give rise to disputes and questioned election results. To minimize confusion, neither party should run the other party’s primary.
- Conflict: A Republican election judge and a Democrat election judge at the same poll would have equal authority. In an ideal world, they would always agree. But if not, needless conflict could arise that others, including your office, have no authority to resolve.
- Cost: Your office suggested joint primaries would save costs. Although the State of Texas–not your office–picks up the tab for primaries, this is not accurate. As your demonstration showed, each check-in location would have workers from each Party. Unless you forced one party to have fewer election workers, a joint primary would not save the State money.
Click here to view the letter that HCRP Chair Paul Simpson sent to Dr. Trautman.
Look, obviously you know that I initially supported the plan but doubted that it would happen because of the distrust between the parties. And even though I like Dr. Trautman and don’t have the same reservations as most of the other HCRP Precinct Chairs, I have to admit that I do not have any detailed information for my support and the HCRP spent a lot of time and resources on this decision. Given that, and knowing how they approached this issue from a data driven point of view, I have to agree with their decision.
Of course, the Harris County Democratic Party will be sanctimonious, appalled, aghast, etc. about this decision. I would urge you to take whatever they say with a grain or less of salt. They simply have no credibility on any issue regarding the Harris County Clerk. These people attacked former Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart relentlessly for 8 years with zero legitimate reason. So when offtheblockquote.com or anyone else goes nuts, just laugh.
For more on the idea of voting centers in general, read this from Chairman Simpson.