WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, May 2, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 1993, which would give the secretary of state the authority to order a new election under certain circumstances in counties with at least 2.7 million people. Only Harris County, a Democratic stronghold and the country’s third most populous county, would be affected by this bill as it has 4.7 million people. S.B. 1993 now goes to the state House for consideration.
S.B. 1993 would allow the secretary of state to order a new election in Harris County if at least 2% of polling places run out of usable ballots during voting hours and also if these polling places don’t receive extra ballots within one hour of running out. Under the terms of the law, the secretary of state wouldn’t actually have to prove that any polling places did run out of ballots; they would merely need to have “good cause to believe ” that there was a shortage. Additionally, they wouldn’t have to prove that election administration issues affected the outcome of the election.
The law is a direct response to the 2022 midterms, where some Republicans tried to use Election Day problems in Harris County to justify overturning the results. Republicans suggested the ballot shortages last year were targeted at Republicans, a claim the data does not support. If signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott (R), S.B. 1993 will make it easier for Texas Republicans to override future elections in Harris County.
Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee (D) vowed to sue if the bill is enacted.