Court denies Paxton’s appeal in Harris County mail-in ballot application case for now

HOUSTON – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s appeal to last week’s court ruling that allows Harris County to send mail-in ballot applications to all registered voters was denied Tuesday.

According to the decision issued by the 14th Court of Appeals, Paxton’s request for an injunction was denied because Paxton and Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins had reached a previous agreement in the Texas Supreme Court. That agreement is in effect until Thursday.

The appeals court ordered both Paxton and Hollins to submit briefs on the case by 5 p.m. Wednesday, before issuing a final ruling on Paxton’s request.

Hollins has argued that the nature of the coronavirus pandemic means he must ensure voters who are sick can still vote.

Paxton has argued that Hollins has overstepped, and that state law allows for only qualified voters to receive a mail-in ballot application.

In Texas, voters can cast their ballot by mail if:

  • They will be away from the county of residence on Election Day and during the early voting period.
  • They are sick or disabled.
  • They will be 65 years of age or older on Election Day.
  • They are confined in jail, but eligible to vote.

“As surely as night follows day, this case will ultimately be decided in the Texas Supreme Court,” KPRC 2 legal analyst Brian Wice said.

Wice went on to add that based on its batting average in these matters, “The Attorney General’s office will be the prohibitive favorite.”

There are approximately 2.4 million registered voters in Harris County.