The Texas Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay against Harris County Democrat County Clerk Chris Hollins’ plan to send mail-in ballot applications to all 2.37 million registered voters in the county.
The order was given in response to a legal action filed by the Harris County Republican Party, Dr. Stephen Hotze, and Sharon Hemphill earlier this week, asking the state’s highest civil court to block the massive mail-ballot plan.
“We are thankful that the Texas Supreme Court is preventing a rogue clerk from violating the Texas Election Code,” Jared Woodfill, the group’s attorney, told Texas Scorecard. “It is shocking that the clerk of the largest county in Texas did not appreciate that his actions were illegal, compromised the integrity of elections in Harris County, and created an atmosphere for voter fraud. Today, the Texas Supreme Court stopped Hollins from breaking the law.”
A separate lawsuit was also filed in a state court on Monday by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Texas election law currently allows for absentee ballot-by-mail for voters who are age 65 or older, disabled, out of the county during the voting period, or incarcerated but otherwise eligible to vote.
Opponents to Harris County’s plan argue 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.
The Texas Supreme Court’s order requires the county to stop the mass mailing of applications while the court considers whether to provide emergency relief, halting the program entirely.