Political circles were buzzing Wednesday with word of the latest episode of Republicans turning against their state leader, Gov. Greg Abbott. The governor is being sued for the simple act of extending the early voting period during the pandemic.
The first plaintiff listed on the lawsuit is conservative activist Steve Hotze, who seems to run to court as often as the sun rises. His involvement is not surprising to those who’ve watched his moves over the last few months, however, political tongues are wagging over the long list of high-profile Republicans who have lined up behind him this time. They include Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, Texas GOP Party Chair Allen West, Harris County Republican Party Chair Keith Nielsen, three state senators and four state representatives.
Shortly after the lawsuit became public, State Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) notified the plaintiffs that she had not agreed to be part of their lawsuit and wanted her name removed, Scott Braddock of the Quorum Report was the first to report.
Minus Campbell, there are a total of 23 plaintiffs.
The lawsuit claims Abbott is violating Texas election law and overstepping his authority in extending early voting without first consulting with the Texas Legislature.
If ever a special session was justified, now is the time,” the filing reads. “Abbott’s executive orders are unprecedented and have had life and death implications, destroyed small businesses and families’ livelihoods, have had a crippling effect on every single community, and now have the ability to impact local, state and national elections. As long as this court allows it to occur, one person will continue to unilaterally make these decisions under the guise of an unconstitutional statute.”
Abbott extended early voting for the November election by nearly a week. He also expanded the period in which completed mail-in ballots may be delivered in person. Typically, mail ballots may be hand delivered only on Election Day. Abbott’s order allows in-person delivery every day of the early voting period.
Hotze and company also want the court to enjoin Abbott from allowing the early delivery of mail ballots.
The plaintiffs have bypassed the lower courts and filed their case directly with the Texas Supreme Court.
Early voting is scheduled for Oct. 13-30. Election Day is Nov. 3.