Texas voters decide whether their health concerns make them eligible for mail-in voting. That’s Texas law. In fact, the Texas Supreme Court recently acknowledged voters decide this question for themselves without second-guessing by state officials.
But Texas has become a partisan battleground state, where election laws are rarely settled. Case in point: Last week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins to stop Hollins from being a helpful public servant. Hollins wants to send vote-by-mail applications to 2.4 million registered Harris County voters, Republican and Democratic alike.
Paxton — dedicated as always to asserting state control over Texans — wants to thwart local leaders’ effort to increase voter turnout. After being served with Paxton’s lawsuit, Hollins dutifully agreed to partially suspend his mailing pending the courts’ consideration of the merits of Paxton’s challenge. The deadline to apply for ballot by mail (received, not postmarked) is Oct. 23.
Why would any official, constitutionally elected to serve all Texans, want to stop the simple delivery of a vote-by-mail application to its intended recipient? Paxton says he’s acting urgently to prevent fraud. Of course, there’s nothing fraudulent about asking the postman to deliver an application to a registered voter.