Vote No and take the dough

It’s as Republican as insurrection and hydroxychloroquine.

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, last year left little doubt why she was voting against a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure measure, calling it nothing more than a “socialist plan full of crushing taxes and radical spending.”

Yet, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on Wednesday that very same infrastructure bill would be funding a $403-million flood control project in her district in the Fort Worth area, Granger wasted no time in hailing the effort.

“This is a great day for Fort Worth,” she said in a statement. She did not mention where the Army Corps was getting the money but thanked the agency for its “hard work and tireless commitment” to making her community safer.

Granger is not the only Republican cheering on projects generated by a bill that she voted to kill. In recent days, at least four other Republican members of Congress have praised initiatives made possible by the infrastructure law they opposed. Political analysts say they are not likely to be the last.

“Infrastructure remains a relatively nonpartisan issue, so even though those lawmakers may have not voted for the bill, they still have to answer to their constituents, and they want to align themselves with things that are popular,” said Cynthia Peacock, a professor of political communications at the University of Alabama.


Granger, the Texas Republican who commended the Army Corps of Engineers for addressing flooding problems, defended her vote against the legislation, saying she “wasn’t against this project.”

“I was against some of the other parts of that bill,” Granger said in a Thursday news conference.

I mean, sure, that’s one way to go about it. There’s also the Gene Wu approach, which gives you legitimate input into the process and enables you to secure at least some of your priorities, even if they come wrapped in a bill you otherwise don’t like. Lord knows, the Dems would have welcomed that collaboration, which they did manage to get in the Senate. To be sure, that route will not be popular with the seething masses of Republican primary voters, but that’s a much bigger problem within the Republican Party, and I can’t help you with it. If you are going to do it this way, you can and should be criticized for it.

And just to prove that this kind of hypocrisy is endemic:

Yes, what Rep. Crenshaw is doing here is perfectly legal. It makes absolutely no sense to ban elections administrators from doing this same exact thing, but that never stopped the vote suppressors. “It’s fine when I do it and it’s a travesty when you do it” is the logic here, and as you can see it’s pretty much impossible to argue with.

UPDATE: Crenshaw has gotten pilloried for this, not that it matters. Cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing.

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20 Responses to Vote No and take the dough

  1. Ed Emmett says:

    When discussing applications for ballot by mail, I wish everyone would note that Chris Hollins tried to send applications to all voters, not just those over 65. That is a huge difference under the law.

  2. Frederick says:


    Isn’t that a good thing for the county’s election clerk to send ballot by mail applications to all of the county’s registered voters to help improve voting turnout?

    No nefariousness, just an elections official doing their job. I hope there is no whiff of conspiratorial intrigue in your post.

    And everyone can note that there was an ongoing pandemic impacting the viability of safe voting for many voters.

  3. policywonqueria says:

    Good to hear from Ed Emmett. Let’s examine the proposition on the merits.

    Re: “That is a huge difference under the law.”

    It’s a big difference in fact alright, and in law too. All those over age 65 are older than any one in the group under 65. Self-evidently. If the law treats the two classes of enfranchised people differently – bestowing preferential treatment to one class of otherwise similarly-situated citizens and not the other – it’s discrimination under the law (unequal treatment), though whether it’s legal under the constitution is a more difficult question because the differential treatment is based on age (as a proxy for legimitate considerations such as the greater incidence of physical frailty and health issues in the over-65 class) rather than invidious criteria such a race.

    Even if this is not unconstitutional, however, it doesn’t follow that a law discriminating on the basis of age – here over and under 65 – is a desirable or fair policy. And extending the preferential treatment to those under 65 would not in any way undermine the policy goals of making it easier for older folks to exercise the franchise.

    As for Paxton’s suit against Hollins last year, note that the Election Code didn’t prohibit the mailing of mail-by-vote applications by Election Administrators/ County Clerks at the time. The Texas Supreme Court went out of its way to make it so on an ad-hoc basis (with a lack of authority/ultra vires finding), after two lower courts had denied Paxton’s bid for a temporary injunction against Hollins.

    And AG Paxton’s purported right sue as The State of Texas was dubious to begin with because they did not rely on the Election Code as statutory authorization for him to bring suit upon request by the Secretary of State. So what law or constitutional provision did give the AG the authorization and standing to bring this type of suit outside of the limited authority under the Election Code that they disclaimed?


    Since some mailing of applications is still legal even after the recent election law changes, it can hardly be maintained that such mailings are inherently a bad thing.

    Indeed, it would make much more sense for such applications to be mailed *exclusively* by the election administrator/clerk because that would limit the mailing to one per registered voter, would be universal rather than partisan, and could additionally help with the voter roll quality-control regarding bad addresses of voters who moved and didn’t update their address (when mailers come back as undeliverable) It would also assure that all voters has an equal chance to apply to vote by mail (if eligible) and that the same information is provided to all, with an accompanying application form that is SOS/Election Code compliant.

  4. ed emmett says:

    Texas, does not have universal voting by mail. That is a completely different subject that will no doubt be debated in the future. The vast majority of states don’t allow it. As a matter of fact, I think most countries prohibit it, too. Hollins was planning to send applications to those who were not eligible to vote by mail. I’m off to work now. Just weighed in out of frustration.

  5. J says:

    Any voter may vote by mail if “I affirm that I have a sickness or physical condition that prevents me from appearing at the polling place on Election Day without a likelihood of needing personal assistance or of injuring my health”. Also voters who are incarcerated, about to give birth, or will be out of the county.

    There is no way any election official can determine if any particular voter is eligible to vote by mail due to these issues. The only way to reach all such possible voters is to send vote by mail applications to all voters.

    This is third grade obvious. And no big deal. There is still no evidence of any real mail-in voting fraud so just shut up about that dead and stinking old canard already.

  6. J says:

    It is very important to note that voting by mail was never seen to be a problem when it mostly Republicans doing it. Now that Democrats are voting by mail it is suddenly a terrible, awful thing. Some senior GOP strategist sent out a memo that “Voting By Mail Is Now Bad!” and so every loyal Republican is now howling about it. The damn Democrats ruining it by using vote by mail to help minorities vote.

    Also note that Democrats aren’t trying to prevent Republicans from voting, it is the Republicans are trying to prevent Democrats from voting. The Republicans started all this horseshit about voter fraud to cover up the fact that they are trying to fraudulently elect their people by keeping Democratic-leaning communities from voting by any method they can. So who is actively lying and trying to ensure a fraudulent election process? Ed Emmett and the Republicans, of course.

    It says everything that the previous Chief Justice of the Supreme Court William Rehnquist started out in the GOP by working in Arizona polling places suppressing Hispanic votes. Now we have the grand tradition continued by Chief Justice John Roberts who was also given the position by the Republicans so he could gut the Voting Rights Act, which he promptly did, leading to all these bad voter suppression laws we have now.

    So much for Republicans supporting fair elections. It is just the opposite and has been for many long decades.

  7. C.L. says:

    Ed, don’t you have an Astrodome bone to polish ? Be gone with you.

  8. voter_worker says:

    Judge Emmett nails it. The only reason for the mail ballot brouhaha is that CC Hollins demonstrated that local election administrators had a surprising level of discretion and the powers that be decided to eliminate EA discretion, and they did. The fallout of inconveniencing voters and causing mail ballot application mayhem was a price worth paying in the quest to force county officials to do it all by the letter of the law (Texas Election Code) with NO discretionary capability. As for efficacy of universal mail ballot elections, I would point out that the reddest State in the nation, Utah, has been running universal mail elections for over a decade. It is doable once superstitions about the process are examined and rejected.

  9. J says:

    Since each voter can request a mail ballot due to concerns about health in the midst of a deadly pandemic, Texas does have de facto universal voting by mail, and Chris Hollins was doing his job fully by the letter of the law.

    voter_worker says “The fallout of inconveniencing voters and causing mail ballot application mayhem was a price worth paying in the quest to force county officials to do it all by the letter of the law (Texas Election Code) with NO discretionary capability.”

    This statement is complete bullshit. Price worth paying? Mail ballot mayhem?? Bullshit.

  10. voter_worker says:

    A price worth paying to the legislature. Obviously I don’t think that. I favor universal registration and 100& mail elections with physical voting as an option. Texas is literally in medieval times, and I wouldn’t limit that to its approach to elections.

  11. voter_worker says:

    While I’m on medieval, will this blog ever enable an editing function? After posting I realized my wording would be misconstrued but there is no way to edit a post, so now I have to come back and clarify.

  12. policywonqueria says:

    Re: “Texas, does not have universal voting by mail.”

    Well, that’s a true statement about the state of election policy, but how is that relevant to whether or not registered voters should be allowed to receive information and a blank or pre-filled VBM application form?

    Note that a generic application form was also available for download on the SOS website, but that website didn’t provide information on the Texas Supreme Court’s recent ruling and opinion regarding eligiblity to apply to vote by mail under pandemic conditions. Hollins’ mailer, by contrast contained that information and would thus have put recipients in a postion to determine whether they were eligible under the disability ground for voting absentee. The mailer is reproduced in color on page 4 of the Sept 18, 2021 Houston Court of Appeals opinion in State v. Hollins. See here:

    And if the relevant information (regarding eligiblity criteria as interpreted by the SCOTX) and the application form is actually mailed by the County Clerk or Election Administrator, rather than by a candidate’s campaign or political party selectively, there is no partisan slant or advantage/disadvantage. Moreover, the form and content (and legal compliance) of the mailer and its distribution to registered voters is under public control. It’s much hard to assure quality and compliance when political operatives do campaign mailings.

    Further, Clerks/Election Administrators in other counties could have done their own mailing of application forms.

  13. Leonard says:

    Is Crenshaw just sending vote by mail applications to just Rs in his district or all of his constituents?

    If the concern was that election administrators were sending applications to people under 65, why not let them send to those 65 and older?

  14. Voter_worker: Sorry. I’ll see if there’s a plugin for that. Feel free to drop me a note in the meantime (kuff at if there’s something you want to correct. Thanks!

  15. Ed Emmett says:

    Thanks everyone except C.L. for a civil discourse. I long for the day when issues can be discussed with an eye toward rational policy. Just because I am out of politics doesn’t mean that I don’t care about issues, most of which really aren’t partisan or, at least, shouldn’t be.

  16. voter_worker says:

    Charles, no worries and I apologize for venting. I simply need to proof just a little more! Appreciate your offer.

  17. C.L. says:

    Ed, this is the Internet, not a press conference full of your KoolAid drinking lackeys, listening to you wax on rhapsodically about the white elephant Kirby@610…that absolutely no one (ever) had any interest investing money into.

  18. Mainstream says:

    Leonard, I have no first hand knowledge, but would expect that Congressman Crenshaw, like any other candidate or party or special interest committee (NRA, Right to Life, Planned Parenthood, etc.) would mail to voters over 65 who they would anticipate from geography or demographics or past voting behavior to be likely to support their interests.

  19. Leonard says:

    Mainstream, my thoughts exactly. Which is why allowing election admins to send vote by mail applications to everyone over 65 makes sense to me. But then, I don’t want to suppress the vote.

  20. J says:

    Let’s remember what this was all about. In the runup to the 2020 election, polls indicated that Democrats were much more concerned about the virus than Republicans and were more likely to avoid public spaces like polling places. In an effort to help voters and save lives Chris Hollins stepped up to provide solutions to keep voters safe, including plans to mail copious mail-in ballot applications. Everything he did or proposed was completely legal, and *good for the public*.

    On seeing that Democrats might sensibly very concerned about voting in person, The GOP went hog wild trying every way possible to prevent safe voting. As Polwonk pointed out above they twisted and broke legal procedure and even the Texas Supreme Court ignored standards and the law to help the Republicans hurt the voting public. A terrible and shameful and illegal exercise of government. I am personally shocked that Judge Emmett supports what they did.

    So much for what is legal or not with mail in ballots. Legal schemgal.

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