Texas attorney general asked Trump administration to revoke COVID relief funds for Harris County
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called on the Trump administration earlier this year to withdraw millions of dollars in COVID-19 relief for Harris County, which includes Houston, as the funds to expand the mail-in vote were planned for the 2020 elections.
Paxton wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on May 21, reporting to the Houston Chronicle, claiming that using federal funds to increase mail-in votes during the coronavirus pandemic was against state law. The existence of the letter received by Washington Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics was released on Tuesday.
“We respectfully request the Department to review the award of CARES Act funds to Harris County in light of the county’s stated intention to use federal funds in violation of state law and, where possible, request the return of any amounts that may have not been properly spent on efforts to promote illegal postal voting, ”Paxton wrote in the letter. "Without adequate protection against the illegal misuse of postal ballot papers, the department could be in a position to involuntarily facilitate election fraud."
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Paxton's argument did not affect Mnuchin. Harris County, one of four highly urban counties in Texas where Joe Biden would beat President Trump in the November election, used funds from the CARES Act to print millions of postal ballot papers so residents could not vote in person. Trump lost Harris County by more than 200,000 votes, despite winning the state by 631,221 votes to get his 38 electoral votes.
Paxton, whose lawsuit on behalf of Texas attempting to overturn election results in four battlefield states was dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month, won an earlier Supreme Court case in which Democrats attempted to impose postal voting restrictions in the EU suspend state in light of the pandemic. The Supreme Court denied a Democratic motion to allow postal ballot papers to be sent to all registered voters in the state.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. (Joshua Roberts / Reuters)
Trump has long tried to discredit mail-in polls despite the lack of evidence to support his claims that it is fraught with fraud. Partly as a result of this, his supporters were more likely to vote on election day. In 2020, more than 65 million Americans voted by mail, while just under 39 million voted in person. Republican majority legislation in some battlefield states banned postal ballot counting prior to election day, making the early return of voters on personal election day seem like a Trump victory. In states like Pennsylvania, Trump received two-thirds of the personal votes counted first. But over the next few days, Biden, who won roughly three out of four mail-in ballots submitted, prevailed in the count.
Trump's frequent complaints about a late "ballot" in favor of the Democrats and the right-wing media's calculations of the astronomical odds against Biden after falling so far behind are based on the mistake that personal and postal ballots were drawn from the same pool of voters.
Like Trump, Paxton continues to doubt the election results.
"I have real problems with this because we don't know in many cases, especially in those states that have taken longer to count their ballots. We'll never know if these were legitimate ballots," Paxton said in an interview this week with the Christian Broadcasting Network.
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