HOUSTON – The fate of elections in Harris County could look very different after a bill passed Sunday to give the Texas secretary of state administrative oversight.
Democratic leaders, including Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, have called the move a “power grab,” as the bill, specifically SB1933, is now on the governor’s desk.
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The bill also authorizes the Texas Secretary of State to have complete oversight of a county election office if a complaint is filed. The measure would affect any county with a population of four million or more.
Voting rights activists accused the Republican-controlled state legislature of trying to control a county that leaned on Democrats in the recent election.
“Texas’ two electoral subversion bills are now passed,” Hidalgo said in a tweet. “They eliminate Harris County’s nonpartisan election administrator and authorize a Republican state official to micromanage elections in Texas’ largest (Democratic) county. This is a shameless takeover and a dangerous precedent.”
Texas’ two electoral subversion bills are now passed. They remove Harris County’s nonpartisan election administrator and authorize a Republican state official to micromanage elections in Texas’ largest (Democratic) county. This is a shameless takeover and a dangerous precedent.
—Lina Hidalgo (@LinaHidalgoTX) May 29, 2023
Republican leaders have said their move is to provide voters with confidence in their election.
“He’s addressing a very specific problem… you know, we’ve had 253 counties that haven’t had a ballot issue… and we’ve had one that has and we just want to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he said. said Senator Mays Middleton, R-Galveston.
The Harris County Election Administrator’s office said they are planning to take legal action.
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