Harris County Drops Election Lawsuit

More news out of Harris, this time it is a little good news for citizens, no more of their tax dollars will be wasted on a lawsuit against legislation that seeks to increase election integrity.

Over the weekend, Harris County quietly dropped the lawsuit they filed against the state of Texas on the heels of Senate Bill 1750 which dismantled the position of Elections Administrator (EA), reverting election duties to the County Clerk and Tax Assessor-Collector.

State Senator Paul Bettencourt’s SB 1750 was written to answer the rampant mismanagement of Harris County elections since the EA position was created in 2020. The change to an EA meant that elections would be run by someone appointed by the County Election Commission instead of directly elected by the citizens of Harris County.

Many Texas counties choose to have EAs while others choose County Clerks, Tax Assessor-Collectors, or a combination thereof. As with other local control issues, when the citizens’ rights are at risk, the state must step in and pass legislation to ensure those rights are protected. This was the case in Harris when hyper-partisan county officials appointed a series of EAs with politics instead of experience as their criteria. The results were clear. Something had to be done.

Advancing Integrity applauds the efforts of State Senator Bettencourt in the passage of SB 1750, stepping in to protect the over 2 MILLION registered voters in Harris County. This was a significant step in the right direction toward regaining voters’ trust. It is also good to see that the county government will no longer pursue the costly lawsuit that was taking money and election security away from Harris citizens.

County Clerk Tenisha Hudspeth, whose election duties were stripped the day she took office in 2020, has years of experience working in the County Clerk’s office, most recently as the Chief Deputy Clerk. Ann Harris Bennett has been the Tax Assessor-Collector since 2017 before her voter registrar duties were removed. Harris County now hopes these two women can draw upon their experience with elections to regain voters’ trust further.