For Immediate Release
Sept. 2, 2020
Contact: Angelica Luna-Kaufman
Harris County Prevented from Sending Vote-By-Mail Applications to All Voters
Texas AG Paxton Lawsuit ‘An Effort to Suppress Votes,’ Says HCDP Chair
HOUSTON – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday attacked a plan by the Harris County Clerk’s Office to send vote-by-mail applications to every voter in the county. Arguing that expanded access to voting by mail “facilitates fraud,” Paxton filed suit in state district court, asking that County Clerk Chris Hollins be barred from carrying out the plan.
“Quite clearly, this is an effort by Attorney General Paxton to suppress votes,” said Lillie Schechter, Harris County Democratic Party Chair. “He is attempting to use the same fear-mongering tactics as President Trump, even though research has repeatedly shown that mail-in voting fraud is extremely rare.”
On Aug. 25, the Harris County Clerk’s Office announced it would send every registered voter in the county a vote-by-mail application. The application details the qualifications that must be met to vote by mail.
Within days of announcing its plan, the Clerk’s Office was threatened by the Texas secretary of state with legal action. When Hollins announced that he intended to move forward with the mailing, Paxton filed suit to stop it.
“Republicans have been fighting for decades to limit voting options,” said Schechter. “They are spending millions of dollars to create barriers to the ballot.”
“Voter suppression most often impacts people of color,” she said. “But it also effects women, queer and trans individuals, college students and low-income voters – those who tend to vote for Democrats.”
Applications to vote by mail are still available online, said Schechter. “I encourage anyone who is eligible to vote by mail to complete the application available on the County Clerk’s website, www.harrisvotes.com.”
The Texas Supreme Court in May ruled that, “a voter can take into consideration aspects of his health and his health history that are physical conditions in deciding whether, under the circumstances, to apply to vote by mail because of disability.”
“A lack of immunity to COVID alone does not qualify an individual to vote by mail, but voters can take into account their overall health situation when deciding whether they are eligible for mail-in voting,” Schechter said.
“Republicans will continue to try to sow confusion and put up every roadblock possible to keep Democrats from voting,” she said. “We will continue to push back.”
“They really don’t want us to vote. We need to show them that their underhanded tactics will not prevent us from exercising our rights,” Schechter said.