Houston, Texas (August 25, 2022) — Less than one week after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a legal opinion concluding that voted election ballots are not confidential, Harris County has received more than three dozen requests from members of the public to inspect voted ballots from the 2020 General Election. General Paxton’s latest opinion directly contradicts an opinion issued by his office last month, and an opinion issued by the office nearly 35 years ago, both of which concluded voted ballots are confidential for 22 months following an election.
“Attorney General Ken Paxton is distorting the law to fuel conspiracy theories, encouraging reckless behavior that erodes public trust in our democratic process,” said Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee. “The law is clear that these voted ballots are confidential and it’s a crime for anyone to access them unless authorized by law. Our election workers should not have to fear being criminally prosecuted because the Attorney General wants to play politics and try to rewrite laws. Everyone who has closely read the law agrees the ballots are confidential: the Secretary of State’s Office, counties across the state, and his own office just a month ago. Harris County will continue to follow Texas law, not the Attorney General’s ‘opinion’.”
The requests were submitted under the Public Information Act. Harris County intends to consider each request individually and will not disclose information that is confidential under Texas law.