Wednesday I wrote about the Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, filing a lawsuit against Harris County Clerk Christopher Hollins. His intention is to halt the county clerk’s plan to send a mail-in ballot application to every registered voter in Harris County. Harris County has 2.4 million registered voters, so we’re not talking about a small operation here. At the end of the post I noted that with early voting beginning in just six weeks in Texas, the Texas Supreme Court would likely rule quickly. They did. Later Wednesday the ruling in favor of A.G. Paxton came down.
The Texas Supreme Court issued a temporary halt to Hollins’ plan. Paxton’s reasoning is that mass mailing would be a blatant violation of Texas election law. Texas has specific requirements that must be met to qualify for a mail-in ballot. Though Democrats tried to use the excuse of fear of contracting the coronavirus for acquiring a mail-in ballot, the Texas Supreme Court has already ruled that fear of the coronavirus is not a disability. Nonetheless, in recent days, Harris County Clerk Hollins has doubled down and announced his intention to mail applications for mail-in ballots to all registered voters in Harris County.
Hollins responded to the Texas Supreme Court’s temporary halt. The plan to send out applications is still in the works.
“What the Supreme Court did here was to simply put a stamp on something Harris County has already agreed to do,” Hollins told ABC-13. “We made it clear that we are happy to have our day in court, and that we would be able to send out these applications on our chosen schedule while having our day in court — either this week or early next week. The Supreme Court’s stay merely rubberstamps what we already agreed to do.”
In response to Paxton’s lawsuit, Hollins stated Monday that he was prepared to meet with the Secretary of State about Harris County’s plan.
“If the Secretary of State would take the time to meet with us instead of jumping into court, they would see that the information we plan to share with voters provides clarity about voters’ rights and eligibility to vote by mail,” Hollins said in the statement.
Governor Abbott, who is not in favor of universal mail-in voting due to the likelihood of fraud and ballot harvesting, posted a tweet with his reaction to the court’s action.
Texas Supreme Court temporarily blocks Harris County from sending mail-in ballot applications to all its voters.
What the Democrats are trying is simply against the law.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) September 2, 2020
Hollins went on to say it’s just all about convenience, you see, but he usually says it is because people are afraid of the coronavirus.
“The Secretary of State and Attorney General have made it clear that they don’t want us to proactively send applications to voters — they think making it convenient to apply is a bad thing,” Hollins said in a statement. “We disagree, and fortunately, the law is on our side.”
“Our office’s top priority is to protect the right to vote and, during the time of COVID-19, to ensure that Harris County voters can cast their ballots safely,” Hollins said. “Since voting by mail is the safest way to vote, it is my duty to educate voters on who qualifies to vote by mail and make it convenient for qualified voters to apply.”
Malarkey. Why does Hollins think voting by mail is the safest way to vote? Actually going to the polls and electronically placing a vote, after checking in with election officials to verify your identification, is the safest way to vote. All polling places will have precautions in place, following the state’s coronavirus guidelines, and voters will social distance. Additional polling places are being opened and the early voting period has been extended so people can vote at their convenience and not all at once on election day, thus eliminating some of the crowds and long wait times. If people can go to the grocery store or Walmart, they can go and vote in person.
Democrats have been trying to convince voters that the USPS is working in cahoots with President Trump to interfere with mail-in voting. Why would Democrats like Hollins be so determined to make mail-in voting a universal practice? It’s a scheme meant to disrupt the election process and makes the process ripe for fraud. The USPS can handle a big increase of mail-in ballots if that happens, but local election officials are not equipped to efficiently handle it in a timely manner. Harris County has never had to handle a large percentage of ballots coming by mail.
Some well-known Democrat names are weighing in with their support of Hollins and his plans to fundamentally change voting in America’s third-largest county. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, a far-left Democrat who is the county’s top executive, is pushing for Hollins’ plan. She accuses opponents of voter suppression and not providing an opportunity for the vulnerable to vote. C’mon man. The requirements for a mail-in ballot specifically address the elderly, the disabled, those who are ill, and even those voters who are in jail but eligible to vote. She knows that and yet she builds an army of strawmen to try and make her argument.
Ensuring vulnerable populations can vote by mail during a pandemic is designed to protect human life & access to the vote. Those who stand in the way—using voter suppression as an electoral strategy—are throwing a wrench in democracy. We’ll keep fighting.https://t.co/fZRoTWv0SB
— Lina Hidalgo (@LinaHidalgoTX) September 2, 2020
Also jumping into the discussion is Charles Butt, Chairman of H.E.B. who wrote a letter to the Texas Supreme Court to make his support known. He’s a Democrat and often contributes to progressive causes.
One concession Hollins has made, after Paxton’s lawsuit was filed, was to say he’ll just send mail-in applications to eligible voters over the age of 65, pending litigation. Apparently that part of his plan is what he is referring to when he says his plan is still in the works.
Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins announced last month that the county would send applications to its more than 2.4 million registered voters, an effort to make it easier to participate in the election during the coronavirus pandemic. After being sued by Paxton, Hollins said he would only send applications to voters 65 and older, who are eligible to vote by mail under state law, pending the litigation. A spokesperson said Wednesday that those plans haven’t changed.
In June, ahead of the July primary runoff, Hollins’ office sent out roughly 380,000 mail-in ballot applications to voters over 65, a spokesperson said. This time, it will send around 295,000.
And on the battle goes. Now we wait and see what the litigation brings and how many ballot applications Mr. Hollins gets to mail out to registered voters.