Members of the Harris County Election Commission voted unanimously to name Clifford Tatum, the former general counsel for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, as the county’s new elections administrator at their July 5 meeting.
Tatum will be officially appointed at a later date once he meets eligibility requirements as a resident and registered voter of Texas, according to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.
“We had two fantastic finalists. A huge thanks to the commission for such collaborative work,” Hidalgo said.
Odus Evbagharu, chair of the Harris County Democratic Party, said the commission is excited to have someone with a “wealth of experience”.
Tatum previously served as the executive director for the District of Columbia Board of Elections and the interim director of the Georgia State Elections Division, according to his biography for the EAC. In between those two tenures, Tatum was an elections attorney, providing consultative and legal services for election officials across the country.
“We look forward to having a great election in November for both parties and making sure that confidence is instilled back to the voters in Harris County,” Evbagharu said.
Tatum will face a new challenge running elections in the nation’s third largest county following the departure of former Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria, who resigned after issues with the March 1 primary elections. His future appointment leaves a short window to prepare for early voting on Oct. 24 ahead of the Nov. 8 elections.
The election commission delayed deliberations from the original June 27 date, as it would not have had enough members present to reach a quorum. Hidalgo announced on June 26 that she tested positive for COVID-19; she said she was still testing positive as of the July 5 meeting.
Longoria’s resignation took effect on July 1. Beth Stevens, chief director of voting for Harris County, will serve as interim elections administrator until Tatum is eligible for the position.