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.

These applications are intended for legally registered voters and are being mailed to that voter’s address. The process is no different than mailing a tax statement or juror summons.

Here’s what’s really happening: Paxton and his elite political donors fear a large number of Harris County voters will vote by mail, the eligibility decision for which he’s not allowed to second guess, so he seeks to reduce the number of individuals who even get to decide.

Despite what he claims, Paxton isn’t concerned about fraud. He’s using the courts to stifle a large Democratic voter turnout. Paxton’s legal challenge will disenfranchise Republican voters as well, but since a majority of Harris County voters support Democratic candidates that’s a loss he can tolerate.

That is outrageous. This pandemic has affected everything in life, and everyone is adapting. Restaurateurs and grocers have responded by offering delivery and curbside options, making it safer to purchase meals and groceries; retailers offer special hours for at-risk customers; even bars have been given the flexibility to provide customers with to-go cocktails. Now local government proposes an easier and safer vote-by-mail plan, but Paxton won’t allow that because he’s a partisan.

Delivering vote-by-mail applications to every registered voter to increase voter turnout is good, efficient government. The vote-by-mail application and the ballot itself include clear instructions based on Texas law, so Harris County voters can choose how best to vote. That’s a safe, non-partisan way of meeting voters where they live.

If Harris County Commissioners Court wishes to allocate funds for printing and mailing applications to increase voter turnout — spending less than Paxton has for his five years and counting criminal defense — they should be applauded, not sued.

Joe Jaworski is a national mediator, former mayor of Galveston, and a declared candidate for Texas Attorney General.

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(42) comments

Bailey Jones

The Republican AG says it's wrong for the Harris County Clerk to send out applications for absentee ballots - but the Texas GOP does it every election.

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/09/04/texas-republicans-vote-by-mail/

Carlos Ponce

Harris County Clerk Hollins wanted to send out applications to EVERY registered voter (2.4 million) but since the lawsuit has backed down to only those over 65 - like the Texas GOP does. Instead of 2.4 million, only 295,000 will be sent out.

If you are over 65 you are entitled to to vote by mail.

"The state GOP chairman, Allen West, appeared to respond to Hollins' tweet Wednesday afternoon, saying Hollins 'doesn’t know the difference between sending absentee ballot applications to eligible voters and sending ballot applications to ineligible voters, aka universal mail-in ballots.' A Texas GOP spokesperson said the party was sending the applications to people who are known to be eligible for mail voting like it has done before."

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/09/02/Harris-County-absentee-ballott/

Does Bailey NOW see the difference????????

Emile Pope

So the republicans want to make it easier for certain people to vote. Sickening hypocrisy...

Carlos Ponce

NO Emile. THE LAW states you may vote by mail if you are over 65.

David Hardee

Leave a little effort in voting. Absentee is sufficient for those with disabilities.

Another Lawyer wanting to scoop the public funds. We do not need any more lawyers, especially Democrats.

Emile Pope

Why make it harder to vote? Your comment is absolutely ridiculous...

Carlos Ponce

Emile, your comment is typical Emile Pope - always uneducated tripe.

David Hardee

Emile, you are the epitome/typical progressive liberal. Lazy, want to be spoon-fed. Nothing is worthy of the effort. Don't make me discriminate I'm a liberal and to make a decision is discriminating and discriminating is RACISM. Progressive liberal is a ME-ist to the nth degree.

To a progressive liberal RACISM is any discrimination (evaluation) whether physical, social, mental, or etheric. for example - sexual preference is a classification in the liberal big tent - sexual preference is a state of mind at any point in time - meaning the individual's sexual preference can be changed at will - ergo it is nonexistent in the physical world and is not discernible in the mental world of evaluation. The lack of any logical evaluation ability is the ultimate progressive liberal description. They moan about everything because they have no desire to achieve through effort,

Don't strain to comprehend. Form a movement called Etherical Discrimination Matters ETM and destroy something like a brain.

Emile Pope

And you are just a blowhard trying to become relevant...

Craig Mason

Isn’t Paxton still under indictment on criminal charges? How can he be the states top cop while under indictment? No other law enforcement official would be allowed to that!

Carlos Ponce

Craig, the majority of Texans know that his indictment is a political hit job. Under Texas law, you pay a fine WHICH HE HAS. You don't get dragged through the courts under indictment. How do I know the majority of Texans know that his indictment is a political hit job? The majority of Texans have re-elected him with full knowledge.

Emile Pope

Untrue...

Carlos Ponce

Emile states "Untrue...". That means Emile claims Ken Paxton was NOT elected?

Emile Pope

Gish gallop. When you mix one true statement in with a lot of falsehoods to try and make everything factual...

Carlos Ponce

So what is untrue?

Emile Pope

Under Texas law, you pay a fine. That's a lie. WHICH HE HAS. That's a lie. You don't get dragged through the courts under indictment. That's a lie. And he's the one dragging out the case...

Carlos Ponce

Silly, Emile! All you have to do is look it up!

"Under the order from the Texas State Securities Board, Paxton was 'reprimanded' and fined $1,000. "

"Due to an administrative oversight, we have paid an administrative fine of $1,000. We are pleased this matter has been resolved and a speedy resolution has been reached."

https://www.texastribune.org/2014/05/02/paxton-violated-securities-law-gets-reprimand/

Emile Pope

You deliberately omitted the fact that criminal charges were filed against him in state court along with the civil charges. Deliberately hiding facts is called a lie...

State securities fraud charges

On July 28, 2015, a state grand jury indicted Paxton on three criminal charges:[90] two counts of securities fraud (a first-degree felony) and one count of failing to register with state securities regulators (a third-degree felony).[91][92] Paxton's indictment marked the first such criminal indictment of a Texas Attorney General in 32 years since Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox was indicted for bribery in 1983.[93] The complainants in the case are Joel Hochberg, a Florida businessman and Byron Cook, a former Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives.[94][95] Paxton and Cook were former friends and roommates while serving together in the Texas House.[95] Three special prosecutors were trying the state's case.[96]

The state prosecution against Paxton grows out of Paxton selling shares of Servergy Inc., a technology company, to investors in 2011. Prosecutors allege that Paxton sold shares of Servergy to investors (raising $840,000) while failing to disclose that he was receiving compensation from the company in the form of 100,000 shares of stock in return. Paxton says the 100,000 shares of stock he received from Servergy's founder and CEO were a gift, and not a sales commission, and they were provided to Paxton long before the sales transactions occurred.[78]

Carlos Ponce

You're being silly, Emile! DUH! That just shows the whole sxcheme is politiical.

He was charged.

He paid the fine.

But that wasn't enough for those out to get him so they went further.

Emile Pope

He was charges with three FELONIES and civil action. Quit whining like your president...

Carlos Ponce

The SEC dropped charges. The Texas SEC are still hanging onto it. No one cares, Emile.

Craig Mason

I agree with Emile. Paxton’s cronies have done everything possible to drag this out. The next thing they will do is claim that Paxton’s right to a speedy trial were violated and try to get it dismissed. That’s how crooked politicians work. I like the sheriff in Galveston county, but if he was under felony indictment I wouldn’t want him in charge of the sheriffs office.

Bill Cherry

Joe, I didn't know that you are a candidate for Attorney General. I normally vote Republican, but don't worry about that. I'll definitely vote for you for Attorney General and hope you win. You'll be great because your thought process has always worked extremely well.

David Hardee

Mr. Cherry, the city spoke clearly about Mr. Jaworski's thought processes in the Mayoral re-election bid. As the recognized social authority on Galveston's society, what is your evaluation of Jaworski as Galveston Mayor?

Personally, it is these progressive Democrats that promote more and bigger government that sucks/usurps all the initiative out of the people and local control.

Jim Forsythe

Texas voters are required to sign their mail ballot envelope, and that signature is used to verify their identity against a database of voter signatures. However, issues can arise when the voters’ name changes or their signature differs from the one in the database, according to a news release from the League of Women Voters.

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia found that the process violates voters’ constitutional rights because it does not provide a method to remedy the signature issue. The ruling on Tuesday requires that election officials give voters an opportunity to confirm their identity and save their ballot from rejection.

“Now, all Texas voters will be given the opportunity to ensure their ballots will count. A notice and cure process is essential for voters to have confidence when casting their ballots by mail, and we are thrilled this assurance will be in place for the general election.”

With the ruling, voters now must be notified via mail within one day of the potential rejection, according to the news release. The notice must clearly advise the voter on how to fix the signature issue, the release said.

Carlos Ponce

Remedy: Vote in person unless handicapped.

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia is another Bill Clinton appointee. Uh huh.

Jim Forsythe

Carlos, you are not for trying to give a voter every chance possible to have their vote count.

Your Remedy does not help people that uses mail in ballots. The judge ruled that Texas must give a person a reason why their vote was rejected and give them a chance to correct the problem. A true result of how the voters vote is important. Just because a person makes a mistake, should not result in their vote not counting.

"Before a ballot can be rejected, officials must compare signatures on file for the previous six years.

* If voters provided a phone number, officials have one day to try at least once to notify them about the pending rejection of the ballot and advise them on how to address the problem.

* Other voters must be mailed a notice of rejection within one day that includes information on how to correct the problem.

For voters who confirm that they signed their ballots, election officers must pursue a challenge on their behalf, Garcia said.

Under state law, local officials must canvass, or certify, voting results no later than 11 days after an election, which Garcia said should provide the time needed to address his ordered remedies."

Carlos Ponce

"Carlos, you are not for trying to give a voter every chance possible to have their vote count."

Jim, what you want is universal mail-in. That is not within the laws of the state of Texas. If you want universal mail-in then get the state legislature to change the law.

"and give them a chance to correct the problem." So you want to extend vote counting beyond Nov 3. Do you want votes counted by Dec 3, Jan 3? Or how about never? Sounds like Democrats are trying to manipulate the outcome.

Let's say Trump wins Texas by 800,000 votes. Will Democrats conjure up more than that to declare Biden a winner? Yes, Jim found 1 million Biden votes in his trunk!

Jim Forsythe

This ruling has nothing to do with universal mail-in but couniting all votes casted.

The ruling says 11 days max. for counting.

Having all votes count is not manipulate the outcome .but courting all votes.

For a mail in ballot to count it must be verified. No one is going to conjure up ballots.

Please do not accuse me of voter fraud.

Carlos Ponce

"11 days" - it took Duval County less time than that to alter Texas' Electoral votes in 1960 but back then only 46,000 votes were needed. Fannin County had only 4,895 registered voters, yet 6,138 voted in 1960. In an Angelina County precinct, Kennedy received 187 votes to Nixon's 24, though there were only 86 registered voters in the precinct.

But they had results in time for the Galveston Daily News Wednesday November 9, 1960 press run.

Jim Forsythe

Does not matter what you think, because Texas will go by the ruling.

Carlos Ponce

It doesn't matter what Jim thinks, the verdict is in:

"Texas court: Virus fear alone not enough for mail balloting"

https://apnews.com/c0b28923955bc068037e9776ffdc07ec

"Texas court freezes plan to send 2M mail ballot applications "

https://www.galvnews.com/news_ap/texas/article_9d4e2023-7845-5ee1-b011-7cac381c87ce.html

Jim Forsythe

Carlos the issue you and I are talking about is not "U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia found that the process violates voters’ constitutional rights because it does not provide a method to remedy the signature issue". "Texas court: Virus fear alone not enough for mail balloting" or "Texas court freezes plan to send 2M mail ballot applications "

What you and I are talking about is " U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia found that the process violates voters’ constitutional rights because it does not provide a method to remedy the signature issue"

Carlos Ponce

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia is not the final word. [yawn][yawn][yawn][yawn][sleeping]

Bailey Jones

All the cool states let you follow your ballot on line.

David Hardee

The OUTRAGE is the Democrats and the media intend to create social chaos. They have concocted a Political Impeachment, Russian hoax, BLM, Systemic White Superiority, Fact Stories, China Virus base interferences, Stauled Litigation, Obstructive Court proceedings, and Racial Conflicts.

Of the 4 major cable channel, 3 are Democratic-controlled and their primary programs have a homosexual host - Maddow - Lemon - Cooper Stephanopolus is a Clinton employee, Woodruff is a seedy Democrat. Zucker, Facebook, and Twitter are screening data, Yahoo is shameful and the GDN is a promoter of any liberal agenda.

America's traditionalism is under constant attack. Against these odds, Trump was the demonstration of our society's repulsion to all the PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS and has made the maniacal advocates of anything destructive.

Emile Pope

Unlike the sexual predators at Fox. Or Rush the drug addict? Actually donald lost the popular vote by more than three million votes...

Carlos Ponce

If there are ANY sexual predators at FOX, let FOX know. And Rush took drugs given to him by a DOCTOR. Hey Emile, I just took my daily aspirin under a DOCTOR'S recommendation. Does that make me a drug addict, too????

alvin sallee

Thank you Mayor Joe, for once again speaking the truth. Hopefully, in this critical election our democracay will not be cheated out of existence. If the GOP has the best ideas then why not let everyone vote?!

Ted Gillis

David, truth be told, there were probably homosexual hosts on all major networks in the past, however strict societal norms didn’t allow them to be free with their lives. Now these hosts are free to be themselves. Does these host’s sexuality make you feel uncomfortable David? If so the problem is yours not their’s.

David Hardee

Please, Ted, Your previous article seeking forgiveness for your racist ways was so touching all know you have risen to the highest pinnacle and now able to clearly look down on others and judge them.

Ted, A MATHEMATICAL FACT that 3 homosexuals holding primary host positions are exponentially against the odds, and obviously an intentional arrangement. It is an undeniable fact that all homosexuals have an innate bias against any traditional mores.

Ted, most of us don't appreciate being duped. Socially free to be homosexual is not a heroic achievement when it was cowardice to live a charade of lying before. Even if homosexuality is NOT a choice the choice to conceal it is cowardice. Dates of the come out of the closet - May 17, 2011, Don Lemon, CNN - Jan 8, 2015, Maddow, MSNBC - July 2, 2012, Anderson Cooper,.CNN

Ted, we have heard your story of your late in life recognition that you had been a racist and now reformed with self-flagellation, ashes and apology. Are you now unable to see the obvious mathematical absurdity that exists in the proportionalities of the media representations and presentations..

domenico nuckols

Go Joe!

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