Lack of Transparency Undermining Trust in Elections
What is Travis County hiding?
Asked for election records in December, the county initially tried to ignore the request. Only after being asked to comply 30 days later did the county send an extravagant bill of $6,000 for record production.
This obscene cost (for a subset of election records) is being contested, and the county will be forced to relinquish records at far less to no cost one way or another.
Still, being forced to wrangle election records from bureaucrats undermines trust in elections.
Lawmakers should again work to streamline access and eliminate the cost of obtaining election records. During the 2019 session, SB 902 by Senator Hughes was passed and signed into law requiring all election records to be available to the public no later than 15 days after the election and for a cost of no more than $50.
This level of transparency is possible; we’ve experienced it on an ongoing basis in the case of Tarrant County. Travis County is light years behind when it comes to the speed and ease of access to records.
That Travis County and many other Democrat lead counties (Harris and Dallas), for that matter, haven’t invested in technology to empower transparency is telling.
In addition to running afoul of Texas law on the cost to record production, Travis county has run well past its deadline for compliance.
This request was received by Travis County on December 17, 2020, and ignored until January 25, 2021.
Ignored isn’t the correct term to use. The email was actually opened more than 100 times between the date it was sent, and a response was finally made.
Travis County, in this instance and others, is flaunting Texas open government laws. A complaint has been filed with the Attorney General’s office.