Harris County Clerk cleared to send vote-by-mail applications

The Harris County District Court ruled that Texas law allows Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins to send vote-by-mail applications to all registered voters as part of his authority to conduct and manage elections. If the Court’s decision stands, more than 1.9 million registered voters in Harris County under the age of 65 will receive vote-by-mail applications with educational and eligibility information. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has attempted to challenge Hollins’s plan on legal grounds. The Attorney General is entitled to appeal the District Court’s decision, and related litigation filed by the Harris County Republican Party remains active with the Texas Supreme Court.

“This is a win for every registered voter in Harris County, and indeed, every voter in Texas—the right to vote is the most fundamental aspect of our democracy,” said Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins. “We are still enduring a global pandemic ahead of the most consequential election of our lifetime, and voters are concerned about their health and the health of their loved ones. Providing clear information about vote-by-mail eligibility requirements increases voter awareness, and we want to ensure that those who determine themselves eligible can easily apply for a mail ballot and make their voice heard this November. I urge the Attorney General not to appeal this decision—these partisan tactics undercut our democracy and will place millions of Texans’ health at risk.”

Texas is one of six states that has not expanded Vote by Mail options due to COVID-19 concerns. Texas voters who meet the following criteria are eligible to Vote by Mail:

  • Those 65 or older by Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020.
  • Those who will be outside of Harris County for all of the Early Voting period (Oct. 13 – Oct. 30) and on Election Day (Nov. 3).
  • Those confined in jail but otherwise eligible to vote.
  • Those who have a disability.

Eligible registered voters in Texas can apply to vote by mail at any time. Applications must be received by the Harris County Clerk (not postmarked) no later than Friday, Oct. 23, for eligible voters to receive a mail ballot for the November General Election. Voters can also drop off applications in person to any one of our 11 Harris County Clerk office locations.

“In a time when the pandemic creates intensified challenges, voting by mail is the safest and most convenient way to vote,” said Hollins. “Partisanship has no place in protecting voting rights and access. I appreciate the Court’s decision, which will permit us to fulfill our role to educate and equip all Harris County voters.”

Voters can visit www.harrisvotes.com/VoteByMail to access vote-by-mail applications and more information about the upcoming election.