Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee Wins Court Order Temporarily Banning Enforcement of Part of Texas Voting Restrictions Law
Houston, TX (February 11, 2022) — A federal court in Texas issued a preliminary injunction in Longoria v. Paxton, a lawsuit in which Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria sued Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and other officials over the provision in Texas’s new voting restrictions law—known as “SB1”—that make it a crime for public officials or election officials to solicit people to apply to vote by mail. By issuing today’s order, Judge Xavier Rodriguez has banned enforcement of this provision against Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria until the case concludes, allowing Ms. Longoria to encourage registered voters—through speeches, events, social media, and other communications—to apply to vote by mail if eligible. Judge Rodriguez’s order makes clear that Ms. Longoria is likely to prevail after a full trial on the merits, providing other election officials and public officials with some clarity about the enforceability of this law.
“This is a fantastic result that will benefit voters across Texas,” said Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee. “Voting by mail is an important part of elections in our country. It’s how many of our seniors, our veterans, our neighbors with disabilities, and many other folks participate in this democracy. Public officials should be able to recommend that option for folks who are eligible to vote by mail. SB1 is about keeping these voters in the dark and discouraging them from voting by mail. I am committed to using my office where I can to challenge any law that tries to criminalize free speech. I’m glad the courts stepped in today.”
Harris County Attorney Menefee, the Brennan Center for Justice, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges filed this lawsuit on behalf of Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria on December 10 and filed the motion for a preliminary injunction on December 28. The Attorney General or one of the other defendants may appeal today’s decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Today’s hearing was argued by Jonathan Fombonne (First Assistant Harris County Attorney) and Sean Morales-Doyle (Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law).
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.