What’s the latest from the governor on the possibility of
re-openings or further lockdowns?
After remaining quiet about the issue for some time, The
Texas Tribune reported the governor saying the following to a local
television station on August 26:
“The state will take ‘a look at further openings’ if it can
continue its downtrend with the number of coronavirus cases past Labor Day.
‘We have three things to get past,’ he told KTRK-TV. ‘One is the hurricane,
two is the opening of schools and three is Labor Day. If we can continue the
downtrends through those three different challenges ... then we will be
taking a look at further openings.’”
Yesterday (August 31), the governor tweeted the following:
“I said last month that Texas wouldn’t have any more
lockdowns—despite demands from mayors & county judges insisting on
lockdowns. Since my last orders in July, COVID numbers have declined—most
importantly hospitalizations. I hope to provide updates next week about next
We recall the governor saying re-opening metrics would include
the “positivity rate,” which just dropped to 10 percent
yesterday, the lowest level in over two months. With
hospitalizations down and the positivity rate at his
previously-announced re-opening threshold of 10 percent, it’s possible new
announcements of re-openings by the governor could be imminent. .
What’s the latest with mail-in ballots during the pandemic?
According to The Texas Tribune, the Texas attorney general,
acting at the request of the secretary of state, sued Harris County yesterday (August
31) after it refused to drop plans to send applications for mail-in ballots
for the November general election to more than two million registered voters.
“That fight had focused on which voters are eligible to cast
an absentee ballot, but it has now expanded to include a disagreement between
the state and its most populous county over who can even receive the
application to request a mail-in ballot.
Until now, the local election officials, including county
clerks, actually responsible for carrying out elections had mostly been
spectators as Texas’ Republican leadership fought off efforts by state
Democrats and civil rights groups to expand voting by mail during the
pandemic. Monday’s action marks the most prominent intervention by the state
in local election practices.
There is no state law that specifically prohibits election
officials from sending out mail-in ballot applications to all voters.
Instead, Paxton argues that county clerks are only ‘expressly empowered’ by
the Texas Election Code to send out applications to voters who request them,
‘but there is no statute empowering County Clerks to send applications to
vote by mail to voters who have not requested such an application.’”
The following is from an attorney general press release
regarding his lawsuit:
“Attorney General Ken Paxton today?filed a lawsuit against Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins
for sending unsolicited mail-in ballot applications to over
two million Harris County registered voters?in blatant violation of
Texas election laws.?Under Texas election law, mail-in ballots are reserved for
a few limited categories of qualified voters who are age 65 and older and
voters who are disabled. Earlier this year, the?Texas Supreme Court ruled?that fear of contracting
COVID-19 does not qualify as a ‘disability’ and mail-in ballots must be
preserved for?qualifying?groups. The Harris County Clerk’s proposed mass
mailing would sow confusion because applications would go to all registered
voters, regardless of whether they legally qualify to vote a mail ballot and
regardless of whether they even want to vote by mail. Texas law requires the
clerk to send applications to voters who specifically request them.”
Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus
TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.