The war on democracy in Texas continues apace with yesterday's appointment of attorney John Scott as secretary of state, tasked with overseeing elections. With the legislative session concluded, Gov. Greg Abbott was free to appoint someone to the vacant position without the hassle of getting him confirmed by the legislature. And Abbott, who just buckled under to Trump's demand for an audit of the vote in Collin, Dallas, Harris, and Tarrant counties, ain't subtle. He literally chose one of the Trump campaign's attorneys, a guy who tried to throw out hundreds of thousands of votes in Pennsylvania, to run elections in Texas.

Not great, Bob!


John Scott has a long resume, with upwards of three decades practicing law in private practice and in the state attorney general's office, as well as a stint as chief operating officer of the state's Health and Human Services Commission. But even before Republicans went full crazy in 2020, Scott showed his colors as a partisan hack, defending the state's discriminatory voter ID law in 2014. Then last year he signed on to the Trump campaign's doomed election suit in Pennsylvania asking the court to enjoin the secretary of state there from certifying the state's electoral votes for President Joe Biden.

Scott's law partner, state Sen. Bryan Hughes, who worked with him on the Trump case and is a vote suppressing piece of work, downplayed their role, telling the Texas Tribune the pair had yeeted out of the case almost immediately when the Third Circuit said there was no such thing as standing to sue based on a vote dilution theory that your vote is worth less because someone else's vote gets counted.

"There really wasn't much to do after that," Hughes said.

But these two assholes put their names on a case asking the court to toss out thousands of votes simply because ballot observers were standing "too far away." They demanded that the court invalidate legally cast, non-fraudulent votes simply because the registrar allowed voters to repair their ballots if they'd failed to sign in the right place or omitted the internal security envelope. John Scott was perfectly happy to argue that a law passed by the state legislature enabling no-excuse absentee ballots violated the state's constitution, and thus all the votes cast by mail should be tossed.

In short, he's a naked partisan who has shown zero interest in ensuring access to the ballot and has made it very clear that he'll toss out duly cast votes from heavily Democratic areas based on any technicality his legal team can dream up. He'll wave his hands vaguely in the direction of "election integrity" and talk about the importance of preventing fraud and ensuring that Texans can have faith in their elections, while chucking batch after batch of votes in the garbage because they were, say, deposited at a drop box where the camera was broken, or because the county registrar printed the form on the wrong color paper, or because of a [cough cough] chain of custody issue.

Because Scott, like his two predecessors Ruth Hughs and David Whitley, wasn't appointed to ensure smooth elections and access to the ballot for all Texans. Hughs resigned on the last day of the spring session, allowing Abbott to appoint Scott without legislative confirmation. She took over for Whitley, who himself resigned at the end of the 2019 session after presiding over a disastrous attempt to purge the voter rolls which would have disenfranchised thousands of naturalized citizens and which cost the state almost half a million in legal fees paid to the plaintiffs. Because these are not good people.

If our votes didn't matter, they wouldn't be trying so hard to take them from us. We have to try harder.

[Texas Tribune / Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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