Monday, May 04, 2020

The Weekly "May the Fourth Be With You" Wrangle

With this week's edition of the best blog posts, Tweets, and lefty news from around and about the Great State, the Texas Progressive Alliance celebrates a variety of holidays.

Beginning today with the latest from General Hermann Goehring Ken Paxton:

“Public officials shall not advise voters who lack a qualifying sickness or physical condition to vote by mail in response to COVID-19,” said Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton in a letter to county judges and county election officials (PDF). Further, third parties advising voters to apply for a ballot by mail out of fear of contracting COVID-19 without a qualifying disability “could subject those third parties to criminal sanctions.”

The letter follows District Judge Tim Sulak’s decision last month to grant a temporary injunction enjoining Travis Co. Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir from “rejecting any mail ballot applications received from registered voters who use the disability category of eligibility as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The state immediately appealed that decision to the Third Court of Appeals. Paxton said Sulak’s injunction is stayed during the appeal.

Paxton’s argued that fear of contracting COVID-19 is an “emotional condition and not a physical condition” under Sec. 82.002, Election Code and this “not, by itself, sufficient to meet the definition of disability for purposes of eligibility to receive a ballot by mail.” In his ruling, Sulak determined it was “reasonable to conclude that voting in person while the virus that causes COVID-19 is still in general circulation presents a likelihood of injuring [voters’] health, and any voters without established immunity meet the plain language definition of disability.” Paxton’s letter does not appear to address this reasoning.

Appellate briefs in the case are due by May 29.

Previously on mail voting ...

And previously on Paxton:

Moving on to the governor's restarting of the state's economy ...

JIm Schutze at the Dallas Observer writes that someday we'll know if this move by Abbott was a good one or not.

There was civil action on May Day yesterday.

Some fresh polling broke a little news:

Kuff looked at that poll showing Joe Biden with a one-point lead over Donald Trump in Texas.

The presidential race in Texas is a statistical dead heat in the latest Texas Survey released today (Wednesday) by Democratic national polling firm Public Policy Polling. Joe Biden leads President Trump, 47%-46%, well within the survey’s margin of error. Respondents to the survey favored Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016, 51%-42%. Seven percent of Trump’s 2016 voters said they would vote for Biden and another 7% were not sure. Self-identified “independents” favored Biden, 50%-34%.

Biden led among Hispanic/Latino voters, 68%-21%. This is dramatically different than the most recent Univ. of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, which showed Abbott leading Trump, 50%-40%, among Hispanics/Latinos.

SocraticGadfly looked at some coronavirus conspiracy thinking and how it shows the "horseshoe theory" is sometimes true.

Better Texas Blog urges us to protect immigrants as they power our economy.

Eater Dallas explained the dangers of reopening for small restaurants.

Ken Hoffman at CultureMap Houston found that Hobby Airport is as empty as you'd expect.

Dos Centavos shared his tortilla recipe.

And a pair of books to read, courtesy their authors (and Texas Monthly).

More Wrangling with Alex Jones, Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel, Willie Nelson, Matthew McConaghey, environmental and criminal justice developments and a lot more in the next edition tonight (or maybe tomorrow)!

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