Election Law in Texas

Election Law in Texas

Recently the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the Attorney General of Texas may not prosecute some election law violations and that this duty fell exclusively to the County District Attorneys.

Let me become the enemy of both sides in this dispute and perhaps the people that do not care about this ruling in the least.

On one side, we have the legislature delegating the authority to prosecute voter fraud cases to the Attorney General of Texas in 1951.

On the other side, we have nothing in the Texas Constitution that grants the AG this power or responsibility.

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals released this ruling that overturns something we have been doing for 70 years. The ruling was released one day after the deadline for anyone to file and run against them during this election season. 

This ruling will allow DAs in counties across Texas to ignore voting violations if they choose.

In almost all cases the DA will be of the same political party as those conducting the election, so it has the potential to make it easier for whatever party is in power in any county to get away with election fraud while only prosecuting the other side.

Not only that but if this is perceived to be the case it might actually encourage both sides to engage in election fraud to “balance” out the fraud that is or is imagined having occurred on the other side. 

Now that the people who support this ruling are boiling at me, allow me to switch hats.

The Texas Constitution

The Constitution of Texas is very, perhaps too detailed. If the writers of this document wanted the AG to have this power, it would be spelled out in the document.

I can see where reasonable people might disagree on this point, but my oath was to uphold and defend the Constitution, not the way it ought to be, but the way it is.

A few years ago, I was working a contract in Oklahoma, and they had a court case concerning a Ten Commandments monument. It was placed on state grounds and had been there for some time.

The very conservative court ruled in favor of the plaintiff and the monument had to be removed.

The Oklahoma Constitution essentially said the state could spend NO taxpayer dollars on religious monuments and the grounds keepers had been mowing around the monument.

While many people were upset with the decision the court stated they were bound by their oath to follow the constitution as written. 

The voters of the state overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the state constitution and the monument was transported back to its original site where it remains to this day.

Where I Stand

So where do I stand? I stand firmly in the camp that the justices should have released this ruling sooner so as not to leave the appearance that they waited to protect themselves from primary opponents.

I stand with the justices in that the constitution “as written” does not delegate this power/duty to the AG.

I stand with the opponents of this ruling in that leaving the fox to guard the hen house, no matter what color that fox may be, is ridiculous.

What is the Fix?

The fix is not to pressure the court into violating their oath and ignoring the Texas Constitution, but to amend the constitution during the next election season so this oversight is corrected. 

The idea that the legislature can pass a law that counters the constitution, the number of people that agree that this should be the case and anyone asking judges to reverse a decision is concerning.

The biggest thing I bring from this entire affair is the tragic circumstances where even one elected official has no opponent during a primary.

Every elected official should have an opponent for every election. If history is any guide, the more candidates we have in a primary, the better choices we have available.

The young lady from Cherokee, Texas that asked me to publish a post on this is probably not my biggest fan right now as she had definite ideas about this ruling.

I hope she can see it from my viewpoint, take a breath and push to have this issue fixed through the process we have in place.

The last few years, the last two in particular, shows what happens when people of either party start acting as if the constitution does not matter and that they are smarter than the founders of either Texas or the United States. 

If anyone reading this has a particular issue they feel strongly about, I urge you to contact me, but rest assured I will look at it and share what I think.

All truth comes from GOD, and all lies come from Satan. Be prepared for the truth.

Robert West