Last week, Democrat Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins made headlines for his plan to send mail-ballot applications to all 2.37 million registered voters in the county.
Now Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is taking him to court.
On Friday morning, Keith Ingram, the director of elections for the Secretary of State’s office, sent a letter to County Clerk Hollins, asking for an “immediate halt to any plan to send an application for ballot by mail to all registered voters and announce its retraction.”
In the letter, Ingram argued that sending applications to all registered voters could cause voters to provide false information on the form, confuse voters about their ability to vote by mail, and impede the ability of those who are able to vote by mail by clogging up the infrastructure with applications from those who do not qualify.
Ingram gave Hollins until noon on Monday, August 31, to cancel the plan. When that time came and went with no sign of a reversal from Hollins, Paxton filed suit.
“Election officials have a duty to reject mail-in ballot applications from voters who are not eligible to vote by mail. Unfortunately, instead of protecting the integrity of our democratic process, the Harris County Clerk decided to knowingly violate election laws by preparing to send over two million ballot applications to many Texans who do not qualify and have not requested to vote by mail,” said Paxton. “This blatant violation of law undermines our election security and integrity and cannot stand. I will continue to fight for safe, fair, and legal elections across the state.”
Texas election law currently allows for absentee ballot-by-mail for voters who are either age 65 or older, disabled, out of the county during the voting period, or incarcerated but otherwise eligible to vote.
While Democrats have pushed for expanded mail ballots for years, conservatives have been rightly skeptical of plans to expand mail-in ballots, as the process is often ripe for fraud and abuse.
A separate legal action—filed by the Harris County Republican Party, Dr. Stephen Hotze, and Sharon Hemphill—was also filed on Monday, asking the Texas Supreme Court to put a halt to Harris County’s expansive vote-by-mail plan.