AG Paxton Warns County Officials To Avoid Misleading The Public On Vote By Mail Laws

Staff Report

Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton is the lawyer for the State of Texas and is charged by the Texas Constitution to:

  • defend the laws and the Constitution of the State of Texas
  • represent the State in litigation
  • approve public bond issues

To fulfill these responsibilities, the Office of the Attorney General serves as legal counsel to all boards and agencies of state government, issues legal opinions when requested by the Governor, heads of state agencies, and other officials and agencies as provided by Texas statutes.

The Texas AG sits as an ex-officio member of state committees and commissions and defends challenges to state laws and suits against both state agencies and individual employees of the State.

Many Texans look to the Office of the Attorney General for guidance with disputes and legal issues.

The agency receives hundreds of letters, phone calls, and visits each week about crime victims’ compensation, child support, abuse in nursing homes, possible consumer fraud, and other topics.

To find out more about the Texas Attorney General, visit the official website at

AG Paxton Issues Statement on SCOTUS Upholding DACA Program

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton gave this statement on the United States Supreme Court ruling on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

We are disappointed with today’s SCOTUS decision, but it does not resolve the underlying issue that President Obama’s original executive order exceeded his constitutional authority. We look forward to continuing litigating that issue in our case now pending in the Southern District of Texas.

Read a copy of the opinion here.

AG Paxton Warns County Officials to Avoid Misleading the Public on Vote by Mail Laws

AUSTIN – Following recent decisions by the Texas Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Fifth Circuit, Attorney General Ken Paxton today issued another guidance letter to Texas county judges and election officials, warning that Texans may not claim disability based on fears of contracting COVID-19 to obtain a mail-in ballot.

According to Paxton, there have been inaccurate statements by public officials and private groups and issued his first guidance letter on May 1.

“As the Texas Supreme Court held, mail ballots based on disability are specifically reserved for those who are legitimately ill and cannot vote in-person without assistance or jeopardizing their health. The Texas Election Code is lawful, constitutional, and correctly protects our elections from fraud and voters from disenfranchisement,” said Attorney General Paxton. “It is vital that we work together to preserve the integrity of our democratic election process and consistently follow the law established by our legislature.”

Today’s letter follows Texas Supreme Court decision that held that a voter may not claim “disability” for the purpose of casting a ballot by mail merely because the voter lacks immunity to COVID-19.

Additionally, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that Texas is likely to win arguments that the Election Code’s ballot-by-mail provisions are consistent with the Equal Protection Clause and the Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Following these rulings, the Texas Democratic Party and other groups filed a motion to dismiss their state court lawsuit this week.

Read a copy of the letter here.

AG Paxton Applauds District Court for Dismissing Baseless Straight-Ticket Voting Lawsuit

AUSTIN – The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas today dismissed a lawsuit in opposition to Texas House Bill 25, which requires voters to individually vote for each candidate on a ballot instead of using “single-punch” voting to select all candidates of a single party.

The law encourages voters to give thoughtful consideration to each race and to complete their ballots in full. The Court held that the plaintiffs lacked standing because the objections they raised to the law—that it would create long lines and cause voters to become confused—were speculative and could be mitigated by careful management of local elections and focused voter education.

“I applaud the District Court for dismissing this lawsuit, which was based on nothing more than suppositions and hypotheticals. Nothing is more vital to preserving our Constitution and the rule of law than the integrity of our voting process, and my office will do everything within its abilities to solidify trust in every election in the state of Texas.”

Read a copy of the opinion here.

AG Paxton Joins Letter to U.S. Senate and House Leaders Urging an End to Anti-Police Rhetoric

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a letter to leaders in the United States Senate and House of Representatives, requesting assistance in tempering anti-police rhetoric that jeopardizes the safety of peace officers and discouraging dangerous disinformation in order to restore the country’s faith in law-enforcement officers.

“The vast majority of law enforcement officers across our country act prudently, professionally and heroically; however, when our nation’s leaders fail to fight back against disinformation or even spread it themselves, peace officer’s lives are endangered,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Many law-enforcement agencies have instituted policies, reexamined training and protocols, and rightly worked with their local communities to build trust and encourage problem-solving. Condemning all peace officers, due to the actions of a few, could incite chaos and anarchy.”

Read a copy of the letter here.

Request for Opinion

Official Request RQ-0359-KP
Authority to remove a county auditor and procedure to do so

Date Received
Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Official Requestor
The Honorable Scott R. Peal
Chambers County Attorney
Post Office Box 1200
Anahuac, Texas 77514

Request for Opinion

Official Request RQ-0357-KP
Whether a peace officer has a duty to intervene in an attempt to prevent another peace officer from violating the rights of a citizen

Date Received
Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Official Requestor
The Honorable James White
Chair, House Committee on Corrections
Texas House of Representatives
Post Office Box 2910
Austin, Texas 78768-2910

Request for Opinion

Official Request RQ-0358-KP
Whether Blinn College may donate, convey, and transfer the Star of the Republic Museum to the Texas Historical Commission in light of section 442.062(b) of the Government Code

Date Received
Monday, June 22, 2020

Official Requestor
Mr. Mark Wolfe
Executive Director
Texas Historical Commission
Post Office Box 12276
Austin, Texas 78711-2276

Request for Opinion

Official Request RQ-0356-KP
County authority to require facial coverings in courtrooms, courthouses, and county buildings

Date Received
Friday, June 12, 2020

Official Requestor
The Honorable Vince Ryan
Harris County Attorney
1019 Congress, 15th Floor
Houston, Texas 77002

Notification of Opinion

Official Request RQ-0326-KP
Authority of Fort Bend Independent School District to maintain a historic cemetery discovered on a school construction site.

Official Opinion KP-0317
The law generally does not prohibit a property owner from maintaining an abandoned cemetery on its land so long as the owner does not construct any improvements on the property that disturb the cemetery.

Notification of Opinion

Official Request RQ-0325-KP
Whether the San Antonio River Authority may release an inundation easement that has been declared surplus without receiving fair market value.

Official Opinion KP-0315
A county’s payment of an amount owed under a contract for services required by that contract does not violate Texas Constitution article III, section 53, nor is an amended contract supported by sufficient additional consideration in violation of that constitutional prohibition.

Notification of Opinion

Official Request RQ-0323-KP
Application of Article III, section 53 of the Texas Constitution to invoices submitted to a county under an amended service contract for services performed prior to the amendment.

Official Opinion KP-0315
A county’s payment of an amount owed under a contract for services required by that contract does not violate Texas Constitution article III, section 53, nor is an amended contract supported by sufficient additional consideration in violation of that constitutional prohibition.

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