And the battle for or against mail-in voting en masse continues. This week, some of the most interesting developments come to us from the state of Texas, where Texas attorney general Ken Paxton is suing one county and its county clerk, Christopher Hollins, for planning to send out over 2 million vote by mail applications in the coming weeks.
As you well know, Democrats across the nation have been heavily pushing the idea of voting by mail for the upcoming November general election. They claim it is the single, safest way to go about voting this year, what with the novel and fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic still very much on the loose.
However, as some states primaries have very effectively proved, most states are nowhere near equipped for the massive amount of mail-in ballots that are expected to be received. Texas is one of those.
But Texas doesn’t exactly have the same situation on hand that most other states do.
You see, the Lonestar State is one of just six that has not opened up mail-in voting to just anyone, even in you are worried about contracting COVID-19 at the polls. Instead, only those who are 65 or older, incarcerated but still allowed to vote, have a disability, or will be out of the county during the election period are eligible to vote by mail.
And no, not being immune to COVID does not count as a disability. (This was already argued about and decided upon by the Texas Supreme Court in May.)
So why would Harris County, the most populous county in the state and the one in which Houston is located, want to send out that many ballot applications when only a small percentage of them will even be allowed to be used?
That is precisely the question Texas Secretary of State and attorney general are asking. To them and most other Republicans in the state, it just doesn’t make sense. That is, unless they are trying to confuse the voting process this year even more by flooding it with millions of vote by mail applications, the elections offices will have no hope of processing on time.
And this brings us to why Hollins and his county are being sued.
According to AG Paxton and the Secretary of State, the plan is an “abuse of voters’ rights” and will only serve to confuse voters and “impede the ability of persons who need to vote by mail to do so” by “clogging up the vote by mail infrastructure.”
Last week the Secretary of State sent the county a demand that they abandon this hair-brained idea by Monday at noon.
But Hollins made it clear he has no intention of surrendering the plan. In addition, the county clerk noted that included in his mass application send out would be “detailed guidance to inform voters that they may not qualify to vote by mail,” as well as on how the application process works. Hollins also said that the county plans to buy more mail-sorting equipment and make hundreds of new and temporary hires in the coming weeks to ensure Harris county is more prepared.
And so, in response to Hollins’s refusal to depart from his plans, AG Paxton filed a lawsuit against him and the county on Monday.
Included in the arguments for why the plan should be dropped is the belief that Hollins, as county clerk, doesn’t really have the authority to send out vote by mail applications, especially to those who have not requested such.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the lawsuit argues that “the Texas Election Code permits county clerks and election administrators to send mail ballot applications to any voter who requests one, but does not provide explicit permission to send applications to those who made no such request.”
But because there is no “explicit permission” provided, it places the argument in a bit of a gray area, with Hollins and his fellow Democrats believing that he has the right to send them out. At the same time, the more experienced AG and Secretary of State belief this is a grand misinterpretation of the law.
Misinterpretation or not, the whole thing seems a bit pointless.
Yeah, let’s go ahead and send out 2.4 million applications (the rough population of Harris County) regardless of whether people are eligible or even want them. And then let’s spend even more hard-earned tax dollars on new equipment and employees to handle hundreds of thousands of applications that will literally be thrown in the trash.
Sounds like a classic Democrat move to me.