Texas Supreme Court hears Harris Co. mail-in ballot application case

Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Supreme Court of Texas hears Harris County mail-in ballot application case
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Justices heard from both sides in Wednesday's proceedings. Here's the complete hearing.

The Texas Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on Harris County's plan to send applications for mail-in ballots to registered voters.

The court blocked the plan earlier this month.

The state had argued that County Clerk Chris Hollins may be misleading voters by helping them cast ballots by mail when they're not eligible to do so.

Despite the Sept. order, the county had already sent applications for mail-in ballots to voters 65 and older. Under Texas law, those voters automatically qualify for a ballot they can fill out at home and mail-in or drop off at their county elections office.

RELATED: Texas Supreme Court blocks Harris Co. Clerk from sending mail-in ballot applications

The all-Republican court told Harris County to hold off on sending any unsolicited applications for mail-in ballots "until further order" and while the case makes its way through the appeals process.

A state district judge had ruled that the county could move forward with its plan, shooting down the state's claim that Hollins was acting outside of his authority by sending out the applications. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose office claimed in court that the mailing of the applications would confuse voters, quickly appealed that ruling to the state's 14th Court of Appeals.

Paxton kicked the request up to the Supreme Court after the appeals court declined his request to block the lower court's ruling and instead set an expedited schedule to consider the appeal.

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It wasn't known when a decision would be handed down by the court.