The Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”) today filed a Notice of Accelerated Interlocutory Appeal directly to the Texas Supreme Court under Texas Government Code section 22.001(c) in Harris County v. State of Texas et al. An Austin judge’s ruling attempted to block the operation of SB 1750, a law passed 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. This filing stays the trial court’s ruling pending a decision by the Texas Supreme Court under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 6.001(b) and Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 29.1(b). SB 1750 is still scheduled to take effect September 1.
SB 1750 was signed into law this year after Harris County experienced multiple problems administering its elections, an issue that puts the integrity of Texas elections at risk and can undermine public trust in the political system by endangering the critical guarantee that every vote will be fairly counted. The law eliminates the Elections Administrator position in Harris County—an appointed position—and returns those powers to the Tax Assessor-Collector and the County Clerk, which are elected positions.
Harris County sued to enjoin the operation of SB 1750 on the grounds that it was an unconstitutional “local law” under Article III, section 56 of the Constitution. The OAG maintains the legislature had a reasonable basis for the law: Harris County is the most populous county in Texas, and, as such, has an outsized statewide impact on elections, a consideration enhanced by the county’s past significant difficulty with election administration.