Washington, D.C. — Over the weekend, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton publicly admitted to using his office to block the use of mail-in ballot applications, which Paxton credits as the reason former President Trump won the state during the 2020 election. In response, government watchdog Accountable.US released the following statement:
“Serving as a state’s top law enforcement official is an incredible responsibility — one that should be used to enforce the laws and protect the community, not to curry favor with your political allies,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “Ken Paxton said the quiet part out loud, publicly and proudly admitting to using his office to help Trump win in Texas, and either expects to get away with it or simply doesn’t care about the consequences. It’s clear Paxton is either unwilling or incapable of putting his personal political agenda aside to serve the people of Texas.”
On Steve Bannon’s podcast, Paxton took credit for blocking counties from mailing out applications for mail-in ballots to all registered voters, which would have made voting more accessible, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Paxton claimed: “had we not done that…We would’ve been one of those battleground states that [were] counting votes in Harris County for three days and Donald Trump would’ve lost the election.”
From his long history of suppressing Texans’ right to vote, to his personal legal troubles, Paxton’s career has been mired in controversy. In 2011, as a member of the Texas House of Representatives, Paxton advocated for a new law, which voting rights advocates deemed “the nation’s strictest voter ID law,” that would exclude more than half a million previously eligible voters from casting their ballot. As attorney general, he has supported anti-voting legislation, including S.B. 7— the most recent attack against Texans’ right to vote that limits early and weekend voting hours, bans drive-thru voting, calls for stricter vote by mail requirements, and lowers the standard for overturning an election based on fraud.
Ken Paxton has been under legal investigation throughout the entirety of serving as Texas’ attorney general, currently preparing to stand trial for felony fraud charges. Paxton also was the architect behind the lawsuit that attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 election and was part of an organization that encouraged the “Stop the Steal” rally that led to the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Texas’ S.B. 7 is one of many voter suppression bills that have popped up in Republican-led state legislatures across the country, making it harder for Americans — specifically Black and brown Americans — to cast their ballot. Instead of winning voters over with policy, these Republican lawmakers are rigging future elections in their party’s favor by limiting voters’ access to the polls. According to a Brennan Center report, “legislators have introduced 389 bills with restrictive provisions in 48 states” since March 2021, including 49 bills in Texas, 25 in Georgia, and 23 in Arizona.
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