Last week, a U.S. District Judge granted a temporary injunction against the repeal of straight-ticket party voting in Texas, prompting Texas Republicans to vow to appeal.
The initial ban on straight-party voting passed the Texas legislature in 2018 and was supposed to go into effect for the November election. According to the lawsuit filed by, among others, the Texas Democratic Party, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the ban on straight-ticket voting would have an undue burden on urban areas, which would predominantly impact minorities.
The lawsuit also noted that in 2018 about two-thirds of all voters (5.6 million Texans) cast their ballot with straight-ticket voting. In her ruling, Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo determined that a ban on straight-ticket voting, “imposes a discriminatory burden on African-American and Hispanic voters” and is “likely to cause confusion among voters.”
Attorney General Ken Paxton, who was indicted by a federal grand jury for felony securities fraud five years ago, said in a statement that his office would file an appeal to the district court’s ruling. On Twitter he said his action would “defend the integrity of Texas’s electoral process and a practice used in 43 other states.”
On Twitter John Cornyn expressed anger at the ruling. “This is so wrong it won’t last long,” he wrote. The ruling on the state’s appeal should come swiftly, since early voting starts two weeks from Tuesday. According to recent polls, Cornyn is locked in a close single-digit race against combat veteran MJ Hegar.
For Carol Donovan, Chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party, Paxton’s appeal is just another tactic for Republicans to make it harder to vote. In a statement to the Texas Signal, Donovan expressed her frustration with the appeal. “With ‘straight party voting,’ voters had the option to push one button to vote for all candidates in a particular party, Republican or Democratic,”Donovan said. “However, the Republican-dominated legislature has chosen to force voters to vote in as many as 60 different races on a ballot.”
Donovan also noted the ban on straight-ticket voting could actually backfire against Republicans. “Ironically, this Republican move could hurt the Republican Party as much as, or more than, the Democratic Party,” Donovan said.“It just depends on whether the voters of these parties will take the time to vote for all the down ballot candidates.”
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