Image: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
New Orleans and Austin, October 12 – The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans granted an emergency temporary stay to halt a United State District Court’s order that purported to override Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s proclamation regarding mail-in ballots and would have threatened election integrity on the eve of the commencement of Early Voting for the November 3, 2020, General Election. Early Voting will begin on Tuesday, October 13, 2020.
Paxton had filed an emergency motion for stay pending appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Saturday morning.
On October 1, Governor Abbott issued a proclamation allowing voters who are eligible to vote by mail to hand-deliver their marked ballots to a designated county office at any time over the course of several weeks leading up to Election Day. The proclamation enhanced ballot security by requiring those eligible voters who choose to hand-deliver their ballots to go to a single early voting clerk’s office as publicly designated by a county’s early voting clerk.
On Friday, October 9, yowever, a district court issued an injunction overriding Governor Abbott’s decision and requiring county officials to accept hand-delivery of mail-in ballots at any county annex or satellite office, not just a single designated office, even though those annexes and satellite offices have variable security measures and inconsistent practices to ensure the integrity of each ballot delivered.
In his emergency motion in the Court of Appeals, Paxton wrote, ““The district court’s order undermines our election security, disrupts the democratic process, and will only lead to voter confusion. It cannot stand. Mail-in ballots are particularly vulnerable to fraud. Protections that ensure their security must be upheld and my office will continue to fight for safe, free and fair elections.”
After the Court of Appeals granted his request for an emergency stay, Paxton said, “I commend the Fifth Circuit for temporarily staying the district court’s unlawful injunction while it considers our request for a full stay pending appeal. This ensures that the Governor’s Proclamation remains in effect.”
Just ten days ago, the Court of Appeals reaffirmed the bedrock principle that district courts may not interfere with state election laws on the eve of an election.” The district court admitted that its “injunction to reinstate the ballot return centers does potentially cause confusion,” yet believed such confusion was “outweighed by the increase in voting access.”
Clearly, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals did not view favorably the district court’s and the Texas Democratic Party’s desperate attempt to open mail-in ballot procedures to voter fraud.