Group files petition in Texas Supreme Court over Harris County ballot harvest case – Corridor News



Through Bethany blankley | The central square

TTexas Agriculture Commissioner Dr Steven Hotze, Chairman of the Houston-based Harris County Republican Party, and others have asked the Texas Supreme Court to intervene to compel the election administrator of the Harris County to follow election law governing postal voting procedures and to follow a previous decision of the Texas Supreme Court in State v. Hollins.

“The administrator’s illegal election platform creates confusion among voters and an environment conducive to voter fraud, including the harvesting of ballots,” Houston-based Jared Woodfill said at The Center Square. “The harvesting of ballots or trafficking in votes are schemes in which individuals collect and return votes by mail on behalf of several voters. Sometimes the voter may realize that their ballot is being collected, especially if it is for compensation. Sometimes they may not realize that it is a harvest because they are misinformed that the harvester is only “providing a service or assistance”.

There are currently 500 cases of electoral fraud pending before the courts, according to the attorney general’s office, many of which include cases related to the harvesting of ballots.

“Paid ballot collectors are fueled by uncontrolled ballot demands,” said Woodfill. “It’s the raw material for their paid crimes. The more requests for postal ballots float into the public domain, the more likely it is for ballot collectors to commit paid electoral fraud. Sending out unsolicited mail-in ballot requests in bulk is unwise because, among other things, the Harris County voters lists, for which the administrator is also responsible, are filled with the names of voters who have died or no longer reside. legally in the county. “

Under Texas law, postal voting is only legal under certain circumstances. Using an emergency order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott, who also extended the early voting window for last year’s general election by a week, former Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins has introduced radical changes in electoral procedures. He argued the changes were needed to help more people gain access to remote voting options during the state shutdown and allay fears of contracting the coronavirus. Nine of the 10 drive-thru polling stations were in counties controlled by Democrats.

Hollins held the position for several months before and shortly after the election, and was replaced by Harris County Clerk, Teneshia Hudspeth. The county then created a new office of the election administrator and hired a new election official, Isabel Longoria, transferring election supervision from the clerk’s office to her office.

On October 3, Governor Abbott issued an order limiting procedures for filing postal ballots after receiving numerous complaints and allegations of potential fraud. The Texas Supreme Court upheld Abbott’s order.

Likewise, election officials received a warning letter from Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office in October 2020, reminding them that developing their own voting rules was “illegal and could result in legal liability.”

Woodfill has filed multiple lawsuits on behalf of the same plaintiffs who again took the Texas Supreme Court to court.

After Woodfill sued Administrator Longoria, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and several groups sued after Abbott enacted Texas’ radical electoral reform bill, SB 1.

“SB1 will reduce voter turnout and discriminate on the basis of race, and for these reasons it should be overturned by a court,” Nina Perales, MALDEF’s vice president of litigation, said in a statement. “In addition to making it more difficult for all voters to vote, SB1 is aimed directly at Latinos and Asian Americans with specific provisions that reduce attendance to voters who speak English.”

A separate lawsuit has been filed by the Texas Civil Rights Project, League of Women Voters, Asian American Legal Defense Fund, Disability Rights Texas, and the ACLU.

Longoria said in a press release that its “first and only priority is to educate and help voters to vote legally. Postal voting is not just another method of voting – for many senior voters and voters with disabilities, it is their only option to vote. SB1 makes it a crime for me to encourage those who have the right to vote by mail to do so, which effectively makes it impossible to fulfill my sworn duty as an election administrator.

Woodfill maintains that the purpose of his petition is to protect the elderly, who he says are the main targets of voter fraud.

“Ballot collectors target the elderly and have been known to prey on those in nursing homes,” he said. “By sending out an unsolicited candidacy to voters sixty-five years of age or older, the administrator’s illegal conduct provides the harvester with the tools he needs … to enable ballot collection among some of the county’s most vulnerable voters. by Harris. “

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