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All of Houston voting machines destroyed in fire

This is certainly going to spark some conspiracy theories in the competitive Rick Perry-vs.-Bill White gubernatorial contest in Texas. Harris County is Houston, where White was mayor and where his base should come from on Election Day.

The Houston Chronicle reports:

Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman this morning said she is confident of timely, clean elections in November, even as a fire that destroyed the county's entire inventory of 10,000 electronic voting machines still burned.

Kaufman urged voters to cast their ballots early to help the county cope with a possible shortage of equipment on election day.

"Because I don’t expect to have 10,000 pieces to work with, no matter what we do, I’m sure that we’re going to be putting on a full court press urging people to vote early," Kaufman said.

[snip]

Houston Fire Department spokesman Patrick Trahan said arson investigators were at the scene of the fire, but no cause has been determined.

The three-alarm blaze started about 4:15 a.m. at the football field-size warehouse the county uses to store its election equipment. Firefighters extinguished the flames about four hours later.