Republicans Sue TX After GOP Guv Greenlights Expanding In-Person Early Voting For Pandemic

on March 24, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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September 23, 2020 4:04 p.m.

Texas, which refused to open up absentee voting during the COVID-19 outbreak, is now facing a GOP lawsuit challenging its move to expand early in-person voting for the pandemic instead.

The Texas Republican Party, along with some GOP members of its legislature and other Republican officials, have asked the Texas Supreme Court to block the state from beginning early in-person voting a week sooner than usual.

The lawsuit bashes Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for signing an emergency COVID-19 measure that increased by a week the time offered for early in-person voting. It alleges that, by implementing the order, Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughes is violating the state’s election code.

The lawsuit also challenges the state’s move to expand the period during which absentee voters — who must still have an excuse to qualify for a mail ballot — can submit their ballots in person at their local clerk’s office.

One of the plaintiffs, Houston conservative activist Steve Hotze, has been on a legal spree, filing lawsuits challenging emergency moves taken by Abbott because of the pandemic, according to the Texas Tribune.

However, the willingness of other prominent Texas Republicans, including state GOP chair Allen West and Texas Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller, to join the latest lawsuit is notable.

Another plaintiff on the lawsuit, however, state Senator Donna Campbell (R), has said she didn’t agree to joining the suit and asked that her name be removed from it, the Texas Tribune reported.

The challengers have used a procedural move to put the matter directly in front of the very conservative state Supreme Court, which previously sided with the state in keeping absentee voting limited during the pandemic.

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