INSTITUTE INDEX: Behind the long lines that plagued the Texas primary

Voters at Texas Southern University in Houston waited in line for as long as six hours to vote in last week's primary election. (Image is a still from a video by Twitter user @_AYoungoldsoul.)

Hours that some voters in Texas cities had to wait in line in order to cast ballots on Super Tuesday, with voters of color disproportionately affected: more than 2

Since 2012, number of polling places that Texas has closed across the state: 750

Of those 750 shuttered polling places, number that were in counties that gained the most black and Hispanic residents in that time: 542

Percent increase in turnout for the Democratic primary in Harris County, home of Houston, compared to four years ago: 44

Portion of Harris County's voting centers that were in predominantly Republican precincts, where turnout was lower and in line with historical trends: 2/3

Hours after polls closed on Super Tuesday that voters were still casting ballots at Texas Southern, a historically black public university in Houston: 6

Number of polling machines that local elections officials had allocated for Democratic primary voters at Texas Southern: just 10

Number of machines for Republican voters that mostly sat idle at that same polling place: 10

Number of additional voting machines election officials eventually delivered to Texas Southern on Election Day, which led to another standstill as voting had to be paused in order to sync them up: 14

Month in which the Harris County Republican Party in Houston announced its opposition to the county clerk's proposal for a "joint primary," which would have allowed voters to cast ballots on any available machine regardless of party and which was supported by the Democratic Party: 6/2019

In a 2019 letter to the county clerk declining the joint primary proposal, election year the Harris County GOP cited to make the case that Republican voters should not have to "wait in Democrat lines": 2008

Of Texas's 254 counties, number that did not hold joint primaries: a handful

With a joint primary off the table, split by which Harris County Clerk Denise Trautman, a Democrat, allocated voting machines by party at polling places because she "didn't want to slight anyone": 50/50

Date on which Trautman apologized for the long lines and said her office would reevaluate voting machine allocations: 3/5/2020

Month in which the Mexican American Legislative Caucus plans to hold a joint hearing with the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and the Texas Legislative Study Group to hear from election officials, experts, and voters affected by the long lines and other issues at the polls: 3/2020

Date on which the Texas Democratic Party filed a federal lawsuit against state elections officials to stop a new ban on straight-ticket voting in the general election, arguing that the policy will disproportionately harm black and Latino communities in large urban counties with lengthy ballots and contribute to long lines: 3/5/2020

(Click on figure to go to source.)