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Texas Supreme Court Set to Consider Legislative Interference in Elections Administration

The case concerns the constitutionality of a law that abolishes the elections administrator position in just one county.

November 27, 2023

UPDATE: The plaintiffs in the case filed a notice of dismissal ahead of the planned oral argument. On February 8, 2024, the court dismissed the case without prejudice.

Texas lawmakers and the state’s largest county are butting heads over how elections are run — and how far the legislature can go to seize control from county election administrators.

Oral arguments are scheduled for November 28 before the Texas Supreme Court in Harris County v. Texas, a case challenging a law that prohibits counties with more than 3.5 million residents from having an election administrator position. How did the legislature land on 3.5 million as the threshold? Only one Texas county fits the bill — Harris County, which is home to Houston.

Harris County found itself in the state legislature’s crosshairs after the 2020 general election, when the county’s clerk implemented policies to give voters flexible, safe ways to cast their ballots during the pandemic, including drive-thru and 24-hour voting. The clerk had also planned to send out mail ballot applications to all voters but halted that plan after the Texas secretary of state threatened legal action. In 2021, the Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 1, a restrictive voting bill that, among other things, criminalized election officials who send out unsolicited mail ballots and prohibited drive-thru and 24-hour voting.

Read the rest of this article at State Court Report >>