Upshur County polls were not operational for more than an hour this morning due to a voter registration software issue, officials said.
Upshur County Elections Administrator Lory Harle said the polls were down for about an hour and a half this morning, and as of 11 a.m. all polls are operational.
“It was our voter registration that was down,” Harle said. “The machines were up and running.”
The voter registration vender, an electronic poll book called Poll Pad, was not working when polls opened at 7 a.m.
“We’re not the only county affected,” Harle said.
She added that things were busy while the office tried to remedy the situation.
“We will be open until 8 p.m.to give people time to vote,” Harle said. “We want everyone to be able to vote.”
District Judge Dean Fowler signed an order this morning extending the voting hours "due to polling equipment technical issues."
The order says the technical issues were "in no way created by the Upshur County Elections Administrator, her staff, any election judge, election worker or any other Upshur County official."
Upshur County Democratic Party Chair Winfred L. Davis Jackson said some locations were operational by 8:30 a.m. and some by 10 a.m.
“They will be open until 8 p.m., they may get extended longer,” Jackson said.
Campaign manager Vince Leibowitz, campaign manager for Democratic candidate candidate Hank Gilbert, said the Texas Democratic Party was able to reach the Upshur County Elections Office when they were made aware that the polls were not working.
Gilbert, who is running against U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, and Leibowitz are heading to Upshur County and said they have contacted legal counsel.
“This is a very serious issue, and Upshur County screwed up big time,” Leibowitz said. “Upshur County should be ashamed of itself.”
He added that those early voting hours could be the only time certain shift workers may be able to vote. The county is important and factors into several races, Leibowitz said. There are about 600 registered African American voters and every vote counts as Gilbert expects this to be a close race, he said.
“We don’t know if it will come down to 1, 100 or 1,000 votes,” Leibowitz said. “One single voter being disenfranchised is a big problem.”
Leibowitz said there has been difficulty contacting Upshur County through this process, saying people have been hung up on and yelled at.
Voters who are in line when the polls closed still have a right to vote.