HOUSTON – A choose has known as a brand new regulation unconstitutional that handed within the GOP-led Texas Legislature and can dictate how elections are run within the state’s most populous county, which is a Democratic stronghold and residential to Houston.

The regulation, which might abolish a place that oversees elections in Harris County, was briefly blocked by state District Choose Karin Crump in Austin after county officers filed a lawsuit earlier this month.

However the choose’s order, issued Monday, was short-lived. It was placed on maintain on Tuesday after the Texas Legal professional Normal’s Workplace filed a discover that it’s going to enchantment to the Texas Supreme Courtroom.

The brand new regulation, set to take impact Sept. 1, was pushed by way of by Republican lawmakers who accused Harris County officers of mismanaging latest elections. Democrats accused Republicans of singling out the county as a result of, like different giant city areas across the state, it has more and more voted Democratic.

In a press release, the Texas Legal professional Normal’s Workplace mentioned the brand new regulation was handed “to ensure that elections in the state’s largest counties are properly managed by individuals who are accountable to the voters, not by unaccountable bureaucrats.”

However in her orders within the lawsuit, Crump mentioned the brand new regulation solely applies to Texas counties with a inhabitants of three.5 million residents. Harris County, with 4.7 million residents, is the one Texas county with that giant of a inhabitants. Based on the regulation’s language, no different county could be topic to the regulation even when their inhabitants have been to ever surpass 3.5 million residents, Crump wrote.

The Texas Structure prevents the Legislature from passing any legal guidelines that aren’t uniform all through the state and solely goal a particular location, Crump wrote.

The brand new regulation is “unreasonable, arbitrary, and simply a means of singling out one county,” Crump wrote.

“We aren’t surprised by (Monday’s) injunction. Nonetheless, we are confident this case will go to the Texas Supreme Court and they will rule that (the new law) is constitutional,” mentioned Cindy Siegel, head of the Harris County GOP.

Harris County officers mentioned they deliberate to ask the Texas Supreme Courtroom to additionally briefly block the brand new regulation whereas their lawsuit is litigated.

“At the end of the day, we know that this is not about making elections better … It’s about undermining confidence in our elections,” mentioned Harris County Legal professional Christian Menefee, a Democrat.

The brand new regulation stemmed from issues throughout November’s elections in Harris County. Native officers have acknowledged issues that included paper poll shortages and delayed ballot openings.

Nearly two dozen Republican candidates have filed lawsuits, alleging their losses in Harris County throughout final 12 months’s election have been due partly to the assorted issues in addition to to illegally forged votes. A ruling is anticipated within the subsequent few weeks in one of many lawsuits, the primary to go to trial earlier this month.

There was no proof that the problems affected the outcomes.

The elections have been run by Clifford Tatum, Harris County’s elections administrator, a place created by the county in 2020.

The brand new regulation would return elections oversight within the county to the tax assessor and county clerk, that are each elected workplaces at the moment held by Democrats.

“When the Texas GOP can’t win a race, they get very Trumpy: Either change rules, change the referee or cry in their spilt milk,” mentioned Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia, a Democrat.

Harris County officers have mentioned the brand new regulation wouldn’t give them sufficient time to arrange for November’s mayoral election in Houston. It was a priority echoed by Crump.

“Without this order, the state … will likely disrupt the upcoming election and cause havoc,” Crump wrote.


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