Time to Protect Texas Elections
Secretary of State Ruth Hughes and by extension her boss, Governor Greg Abbott is tasked with protecting Texas elections. A case can be made that both are failing to do their job.
With just 44 days till the election, there is a slew of election rules multiple elections officials are preparing to violate under the guise of “keeping voters safe.”
Unfortunately, these violations aren’t likely to increase safety, may lead to the disenfranchisement of voters, and will lead to lower trust in the final results.
Let’s examine just three items that can and must be remedied by the Governor and his Secretary of State and preview a possible fourth side-effect of inaction.
Limit Curbside Voting
Multiple counties are planning to expand curbside voting, including collecting mail-in ballots curbside.
For instance, in an interview with VICE News that aired on September 16, Chris Hollins outlined his plan to implement mass drive-thru voting in Harris County.
Drive-thru voting is not afforded to the election administrators (or clerks) in Texas law and according to health officials will not lower the risk of COVID19 transmission. In fact, the practice may increase the risk of spread.
Curbside voting is meant to be limited and reserved to individuals who are unable to safely enter the polling place to vote in person. Hollins is nakedly breaking the law.
In Travis County, Dana DeBeauvoir is planning to expand in-person drop-off of mail-in ballots with drive-thru centers two weeks before the start of early voting.
This perversion of the rule of law is made possible by Governor Abbott and an executive order he issued expanding in-person mail-in ballot drop off options. Failure to amend the order and stop illegal activity is squarely on Abbott.
24 Hour Voting
Texas law clearly states that polls shall be open from 7 AM to 7 PM. This is not a suggestion or guideline, this is prescriptive and clearly defined.
As is the case with curbside voting, Harris County’s rogue radical clerk is implementing 24-hour voting.
The Governor and Secretary of State need to enforce the laws currently on the books.
Protect Signature Verification
Currently, there is pending litigation seeking to derail the only security check Texas has in place to prevent the mass abuse of the mail-in ballots, signature verification.
As outlined here last week, Orlando Garcia, an activist judge appointed by Bill Clinton has ruled the long-standing practice of verifying signatures on mail-in ballots is unconstitutional.
Hollins, (notice a pattern) donated to the judge who ruled in his favor. VICE captured Hollings on video saying he didn’t even prepare a losing statement in anticipation of a win in court. Nothing untoward to see here, just aggressive and illegal tactics undermining trust in Texas elections and two largely MIA officials in Abbott and Hughes.
Time’s Running Out
The last several months have seen an unprecedented number of assaults on elections in Texas. By and large, Governor Abbott has been completely disengaged from publicly fighting these efforts.
It’s an abdication of responsibility that can still, and needs to be rectified.
Governor Abbott should amend his executive order, currently being used to expand in-person early voting by two weeks in Travis County.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of State should enforce curbside voting laws that Harris County has said it will ignore by implementing illegal drive-thru voting.
Finally, a fierce defense against allowing illegal ballots must be wagged.
In these fights and others, Texas is in thin end of the wedge territory. An activist judge has already tried to make the case that not fighting a single instance of irregular behavior in an onslaught of activity is a tacit admission that this and other activity is allowable.
Terrible precedent is being set. The consequences of inaction stretch beyond 2020.