Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee Continues Fight Against Voting Bill SB 1
Houston, Texas (December 28, 2021) — Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee, along with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law and Weil, Gotshal & Manges, has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on behalf of the Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria in her lawsuit challenging the new state election law’s (SB 1) restriction on encouraging voters to vote by mail. That portion of SB 1 not only makes it illegal for the Elections Administrator to solicit mail-in ballots— even though voting by mail is legal under Texas law for many categories of voters—but also makes it a crime.
“This law was created to combat alleged voter fraud that we know does not exist, and instead hinders the Elections Administrator’s ability to inform seniors and voters with disabilities about their right to vote by mail,” said Menefee. “This anti-solicitation provision of SB 1 not only makes it harder to vote, but it criminalizes the constitutionally protected free speech of the Harris County Elections Administrator and violates the First Amendment.”
Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria added SB 1 jeopardizes her ability to perform the duties of the office.
“SB 1 makes it a crime for me to do a critical part of my job, and it hurts the most vulnerable voters,” said Longoria. “As the highest-ranking election official in Harris County, I’m responsible for enabling the county’s millions of voters to exercise their right to cast a lawful ballot, many of whom face obstacles to voting in person due to illness, disability, or age. SB 1 subjects me to criminal prosecution for encouraging eligible voters to vote by mail so they may participate in our democracy –an option they have under Texas law.”
SB 1 went into effect across the state on December 2, creating a host of new restrictions on voting. If granted, the preliminary injunction would allow Elections Administrator Longoria to continue to proactively inform eligible voters of their option to vote by mail while the lawsuit moves through the courts. The Harris County Attorney’s Office filed the lawsuit with its co-counsel on December 10.
About the Harris County Attorney’s Office
Christian D. Menefee serves as the elected, top civil lawyer for Texas’ largest county. The Harris County Attorney’s Office represents the county in all civil matters including lawsuits. Menefee leads an office of 250 attorneys and staff members. He entered office at 32 years old, making him the youngest person and first African American elected as the Harris County Attorney.