The Texas Supreme Court has struck down a lawsuit brought by prominent Republicans seeking to overturn Gov. Greg Abbott’s extension of early voting in the November election, arguing the suit came too late and early voting by mail is already underway in parts of the state.
Republican Party of Texas Chairman Allen West, the Texas GOP, and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller were among the names of those who brought the suit against Abbott’s Secretary of State Ruth Hughes on September 23. In their petition, they argued Abbott could not unilaterally alter constitutional provisions. Early voting, originally scheduled to begin on October 20, was moved to begin on October 13 as part of an executive order by Abbott in response to the Chinese coronavirus.
That timeline became the center of the Court’s rationale for denying the motion, saying the suit could have been brought any time in the past ten weeks.
“Moreover, the election is already underway. The Harris County Clerk has represented to the Court that his office would accept mailed-in ballots beginning September 24. To disrupt the long-planned election procedures as relators would have us do would threaten voter confusion,” reads the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Nathan Hecht.
Justice John Devine offered the only dissenting opinion, saying the Court was doing a “disservice to the citizens of the State of Texas and the Texas Constitution.”
“We have often acted even ‘after statutory deadlines to protect the electoral process,’” Devine argued.
The court’s opinion, as well as Justice Devine’s dissenting opinion, may be viewed below: