Bexar County, Texas Sued Over Reduction in Polling Places
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Oct. 4, the Texas Organizing Project filed a lawsuit against the Bexar County judge and multiple Bexar County commissioners challenging the Bexar County Elections Department’s decision to close numerous polling locations for the upcoming 2022 midterm elections. In the complaint, the plaintiff argues that the county’s reduction in polling locations from 302 locations in 2020 to 267 locations for 2022 and the defendants’ failure to “operate a legally sufficient number of polling places on Election Day” violates the Texas Election Code. The plaintiff asserts that the Texas Election Code mandates that “[t]he total number of countywide polling places may not be less than…50 percent of the number of precinct polling places that would otherwise be located in the county for that election” and alleges that Bexar County does not meet this threshold. The plaintiff claims that, in accordance with this law, Bexar County should have a minimum of 388 polling locations amongst its 776 election precincts. The plaintiff adds that although the county can combine precincts under narrow circumstances related to redistricting, there are no legitimate reasons to justify combining any of Bexar County’s precincts for the upcoming November election.
Moreover, the plaintiff argues that Bexar County’s reduction in polling locations to 267 locations throughout the county disproportionately impacts minority voters since these voters will be burdened by having to travel further distances in order to get to their polling places and may be less likely to turn out to vote as a result. The plaintiff requests that the court order the Bexar County defendants to operate a minimum of 388 countywide polling locations on Election Day and to declare the county’s current plan — to operate only 267 polling locations — in violation of Texas law. Notably, this is not the first time Bexar County has been the subject of litigation regarding polling place closures. Ahead of the 2020 election, a Bexar County judge ordered the county elections department to add 18 polling locations and operate a minimum of 302 polling locations.