February 25, 2022/Media, Press

Texas Democratic Party Demands an Investigation Into Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s Abuse of Power and His Role in Voter Suppression

AUSTIN, Texas – Today, the Texas Democratic Party requested an investigation into Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s violation of his very own law, Senate Bill 1. The portion in question is Election Code Sec. 84.0111, which makes it a crime for public officials to send unsolicited mail ballot applications to voters.

Lieutenant Governor Patrick decided that the law that he championed and played a pivotal role in passing does not apply to him. This is evidenced by the recent unsolicited mailer that bears the official seal of the Lieutenant Governor of Texas and his signature with his official title that included an application to vote by mail.

In his letter, he deliberately instructs Texans to not comply with Election Code Sec. 84.001 and instead instructs them to return completed applications to the Secretary of State rather than their county’s early voting clerks, as required by the Code. His campaign has justified this with slanderous falsehoods about hard-working local government employees that are intended to undermine the voter’s confidence in their county’s Clerks, Election Administrators, and other election officials. Lastly, but equally concerning, the mailer includes commissioned “Official Election Mail” return envelopes with the address of the Secretary of State. This is not only further representation  of cooperation with the Secretary of State and other election officials, but it is evidence of another deliberate attempt to subvert the law with improper use of his office and position as Lieutenant Governor-a blatant abuse of power.

In a letter to Travis County District Attorney José Garza today, the Texas Democratic Party requested that an investigation be opened. The full letter is available here.

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“Two separate sets of rules for Republicans and Democrats will not be tolerated. While we at the Texas Democratic Party believe it is everyone’s right to vote and we are in favor of expanding mail voting options, we also believe in the equitable application of our laws, especially those like SB1 which are designed to scare election officials and deter voters. When Republicans (especially Republican lawmakers) break the law, even a law we disagree with, they must be held accountable to those laws. Our call for an investigation is to ensure that there is Equal Justice under the law and that an unfair advantage is not being given to the Republican Party.

“Patrick’s actions are one of the most flagrant abuses of power we have seen so far this election cycle, and if not punished, it will be a greenlight for the use of more underhanded tactics from Republican candidates fighting to stay in power. We know that Republicans will do whatever it takes to win. Their duplicity is beyond hypocrisy-it is criminal.

“Over the last year, Texas Republicans have done everything possible to make voting more difficult for Texans. Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, and many other Texas Republicans have continuously blocked our efforts to ensure all voters have the same opportunity to participate in our election process – a complete contradiction to their claims of being the defenders of elections.

“Texas Democrats will work to defend and protect Texas voters against this all-out assault on our democratic process. Since the passage of SB 1 unprecedented numbers of mail ballot applications and ballots have been rejected. Our county officials are forced to abide by this restrictive voting law passed by Governor Abbott and his fellow Republicans or face potential jail time. A law that Republicans like Dan Patrick choose to ignore while suppressing the voices of millions.

“Voters can count on The Texas Democratic Party to take action against any unlawful practice aimed at disenfranchising our constitutional right to a free and fair election.”