As partisanship usurps the law, Texas Supreme Court steps in to prevent mailing of 2 million mail-in ballot applications by Harris County Clerk Hollins

Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins.

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Austin and Houston, September 16 – The Texas Supreme Court issued a stay order and temporary injunction on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, in order to prevent Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins from mailing over two million unsolicited mail-in ballot applications for the November 3 General Election. Hollins and the Texas Democratic Party are seeking that ploy in order to increase Democratic voter turnout massively in Harris County with the hope of swinging the entire State of Texas’ General Election result against President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

To date, in the State of Texas’ lawsuit to prevent Hollins actions in clear violation of the Texas Election Code, lower courts have ruled entirely on a partisan basis. The Texas Election Code is very clear that mail-in ballot applications are valid only for citizens only if (a) “the voter expects to be absent from the county of the voter’s residence on election day,” Election Code § 82.001; (b) the voter “has a sickness or physical condition” that prevents the voter from voting in person, Election Code § 82.002; (c) the voter is at least 65 4 years of age on election day, Election Code § 82.003; or (d) “at the time the voter’s early voting ballot application is submitted, the voter is confined in jail,” Election § 82.004. To receive a ballot to vote by mail, an eligible voter “must make an application for an early voting ballot to be voted by mail as provided by this title,” § 84.001(a), and send it to the early-voting clerk in the voter’s jurisdiction, § 84.001(d).

Hollins and the Democrats, however, hope to boost Harris County’s Democratic voter turnout massively in order to change the outcome of the General Election in Texas and for the entire Nation, since President Trump needs to win Texas to secure his re-election. Hollins has ignored the limitations on his power. On August 25, 2020, his office announced on Twitter that it “will be mailing every registered voter an 5 application to vote by mail.” MR.326. The tweet also stated “Check your mail! Every Harris County registered voter will be sent an application to vote by mail next month.”

Most of the individuals targeted by Hollins’s latest proposed mass mailing are not eligible to vote by mail. Currently, there are approximately 2.4 million people registered to vote in Harris County. As of July 1, 2019, only 10.9% of the Harris County population is 65 years old or older. Only an estimated 6.4% of the remainder has a disability, and it is unclear how many of those disabilities prevent a voter from voting in person. Finally, the number of eligible voters who are confined in jail or expect to be absent from the county is necessarily small, according to the brief which Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed with the Supreme Court.

On Friday, September 11, a Democratic District Judge in Harris County denied the State’s request to enjoin Hollins from sending the illegal mail-in ballot applications.

Hollins made clear, however, that he will undoubtedly follow through on his threat to mail out two million applications to vote by mail, depriving the courts of the ability to afford the State any effective relief or to resolve the merits of the State’s appeal. A three-Democrat Judge panel of the Fourteenth Court of Appeals at Houston refused to enjoin Hollins from proceeding with the mailing.

Therefore, Paxton and the State of Texas requested an emergency stay and writ of injunction from the Supreme Court of Texas on Monday, September 14.

The Tuesday order of the Supreme Court, wherein the Court stayed and enjoined Hollins’ mailing of the more than two million applications, was brief:

“On petition of…the State of Texas, for writ of mandamus and writ of injunction to preserve its ability to seek relief on interlocutory appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Fourteenth District…Chris Hollins, County Clerk of Harris County, is ordered not to send or cause to be sent any unsolicited mail-in ballot applications pending disposition of the State’s appeal to the Court of Appeals and any proceedings in this Court, and until further order of this Court.”

By enjoining Hollins’ action during the appeal pending in the Fourteenth Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court has preserved the ability of the appellate courts to determine the legal issues rather than sitting at the mercy of a rogue county official who has made clear he will operate outside of the boundaries of Texas Election law.

“I strongly commend the Texas Supreme Court for stopping the Harris County Clerk from sending millions of mail-in ballot applications, which would create voter confusion and jeopardize the integrity and security of our elections,” said Attorney General Paxton. “The Harris County Clerk knowingly chose to violate Texas election law and undermine election security. I thank the court for preventing the clerk from proceeding with his unlawful plans while this case continues.”

Clearly, the unwillingness of the District Judge and the Court of Appeals judges, all Democrats, to act to protect the integrity of the November General Election left the Supreme Court will little option but to step in and uphold the integrity of the law.

 

 

 

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