Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Texas Passes Election Law Targeting Democratic Stronghold


ICYMI over the weekend, the anti- democracy yahoos in Texass are continuing their rear guard action to defend Christofascism in their state:

Texas Republicans wound down their regular legislative session Sunday by changing election policies for a single populous Democratic stronghold but not other parts of the state.

The measure gives the secretary of state under certain conditions the power to run elections in Harris County, home to Houston and 4.8 million residents. It follows a bill approved days earlier that shifts the oversight of elections from its appointed elections administrator to the county clerk and county assessor.

Harris County officials at a news conference last week said they would bring a lawsuit challenging the measures as soon as Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signs them into law.

“These bills are not about election reform,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the county’s chief executive. “They’re not about improving voters’ experience. They are entirely about suppressing voters’ voices. The reasoning behind these bills is nothing but a cynical charade.”

Also over recent days, the Republican-controlled legislature passed bills increasing penalties for illegal voting and likely setting the stage for the state to withdraw from the Electronic Registration Information Center. The center was formed in 2012 to help states maintain accurate voter rolls, identify instances of potential fraud and contact people so they can register to vote. More than half the states belong to the consortium, but some Republican-run states have bolted from it over the last year as election deniers have spread false information about its work.

The new law seemingly violates the Texass Constitution, not that that would stop the vote suppressors, who are being real clever:

The Texas Constitution, like those in many states, bars the legislature from passing laws that apply only to specific jurisdictions. Harris County officials said they would use that provision of the state constitution to challenge the legislation targeting their county.

Whether they succeed will be up to the courts. The legislation does not mention Harris County by name. Instead, one bill is written to apply to counties of more than 3.5 million and the other to counties of more than 4 million. Harris County is the only county that meets those thresholds.

“We’re suing the state of Texas to protect Harris County, to protect Harris County residents, to protect our public officials and to stop the state from targeting us,” Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee said during last week’s news conference.

We wish them well, but given how the Christofascists have salted the state courts with their own, even having the law and the state Constitution on your side might not be enough.

What's happened in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, once red states now purple, is what Christofascist Republicans in Texass see coming in the distance.  It might take longer to happen than it did in those other states, but it will happen there, too.

If you want to help Harris County Democrats fight voter suppression, you can make a donation here.

(Photo:  Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT News)


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