Texas Supreme Court blocks Harris Co. Clerk from sending mail-in ballot applications

The Texas Supreme Court has once again blocked Harris County from sending mail-in ballot applications to all its 2.4 million registered voters ahead of the November election.

In a Tuesday order, the Supreme Court granted the Texas attorney general's request to halt the county's effort just before a separate order blocking the mailing was set to expire. The all-Republican court told Harris County to hold off on sending any unsolicited applications for mail-in ballots "until further order" and while the case makes its way through the appeals process.

A state district judge had ruled Friday that the county could move forward with its plan, shooting down the state's claim that Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins was acting outside of his authority by sending out the applications. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose office claimed in court that the mailing of the applications would confuse voters, quickly appealed that ruling to the state's 14th Court of Appeals. Paxton kicked the request up to the Supreme Court after the appeals court declined his request to block the lower court's ruling and instead set an expedited schedule to consider the appeal.

The Supreme Court had previously blocked the county from mailing out ballot applications in line with an agreement between Harris County and the AG's office to pause the mailings until five days after a ruling from the state district judge. That agreement was set to expire Thursday.

In a statement Tuesday, Paxton celebrated the Supreme Court's order and reiterated his claim that Hollins "knowingly chose to violate Texas election law and undermine election security" - an argument the state district court rejected. On Twitter, Hollins said his was ready to send the applications and accompanying guidance on who qualifies to vote by mail "at the conclusion of this baseless litigation."