County Officials cannot deny Public Information Election Record request to AG Paxton’s Office

Austin, TX – Senator Paul Bettencourt’s (R-Houston) bill to deny county officials from using the litigation exception to delay releasing election records on public information requests finally passed. SB 1910 passed as an amendment to HB 3033 by Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa), sponsored by Senator Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo). “One of the most frustrating aspects of the November 8th election fiasco in Harris County, is the refusal of Elections Administrator Tatum and County Judge Hidalgo to answer questions about what went wrong on November 8th, 2022,” said Senator Bettencourt. “In fact, Harris County used the Public Information litigation exemption to try and stop multiple open records requests from the public for election records. Attorney General Paxton’s office denied their request on March 29, 2023, but Harris County filed suit in Travis County to block the release nonetheless” commented Senator Bettencourt.

“Election records are truly public records,” he added. Houston native, Jim McIngvale, affectionately known as “Mattress Mack,” filed a lawsuit against Harris County’s elections office related to the November 8, 2022, election fiasco in Harris County. According to Mr. McIngvale, he and investigative reporter, Wayne Dolcefino, tried six times to get public information from Harris County about the election and were denied each time. The Harris County Elections Administrator’s Office claimed that they couldn’t release any public records by claiming the litigation exception. Before being added to HB 3033, SB 1910 passed out of the Texas Senate 24-7, and out of the Texas House of Representatives Committee on State Affairs unanimously.

“Thank you, Senator Bettencourt, for fighting for the citizens of Texas. Please shine the light on all elections in Texas, so the transparent process reflects the votes of Texans!!! GOD bless Texas!” Exclaimed Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale.

HB 3033 will be signed by the Senate and The House and then sent to the Governor for his signature review. “During a recent news conference, Harris County officials dedicated zero minutes explaining why the November 8th election was a fiasco. I’ve never seen a more intentional effort by elected officials to keep the truth from the public. But thanks to Rep. Landgraf and Senator Zaffirini’s bill, the truth will come to light from any future election,” concluded Senator Bettencourt.

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