State of Texas

Texas Harris County Election Administration Challenge

Harris County v. Texas

Lawsuit filed on behalf of Harris County, Texas against the state of Texas, Texas Attorney General John Scott (R) and Texas Secretary of State Jane Nelson (R) challenging a new law that targets Harris County election administration. Harris County is Texas’ most populous county and home to Houston. The challenged law, Senate Bill 1750, abolishes the appointed election administrator position within Harris County and gives responsibilities back to the county clerk and county tax assessor, both of whom are elected officials. The plaintiff argues that the law specifically targets Harris County: “The Legislature prohibits counties with a population of 3.5 million or greater—a category that describes Harris County alone—from creating the office of elections administrator.” 

The complaint argues that S.B. 1750 violates the Texas Constitution, which provides that the Legislature cannot pass local or special laws for 30 prohibited subject matters including:

  • “regulating the affairs of counties, cities, towns, wards or school districts;”
  • “opening and conducting of elections, or fixing or changing the places of voting;”
  • “creating offices, or prescribing the powers and duties of officers, in counties, cities, towns, election or school districts” and
  • “relieving or discharging any person or set of persons from the performance of any public duty or service imposed by general law.”

“The Texas Constitution’s plain text prohibits this sort of legislative meddling in a single county’s local affairs. Harris County therefore requests that this Court declare that SB1750 violates the Texas Constitution and enjoin state officials from enforcing it,” the complaint reads. The plaintiff requests that the court block the enforcement of S.B. 1750 and declare it in violation of the Texas Constitution.

On Aug. 8, the court held a hearing on the plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary injunction against S.B. 1750. On Aug. 14, the court dismissed the state of Texas as a defendant, but allowed the claims against the Texas secretary of state and attorney general to proceed.

On Aug. 14, a trial court temporarily blocked the law as litigation continues. The attorney general appealed this decision to the Texas Supreme Court, which automatically paused the temporary injunction. On Aug. 22, the Texas Supreme Court denied Harris County’s request for emergency relief, meaning that S.B. 1750 will go into effect starting Sept. 1.

In November 2023, Harris County voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice. S.B. 1750 remains in effect.

Case Documents (Trial court)

Case Documents (tx supreme court)

Last updated: