Harris county – which is the home of Houston, Texas – faced a daunting task during the 2020 presidential election. Since voting is a close-quarter activity, it also created the perfect environment for the spread of Covid. In response, newly appointed Harris County Commissioner Chris Hollins proposed a 23-point plan that included increased voting hours and enacting curbside voting. He also introduced drive-through voting. This was but a fraction of the policies enacted, which led to a record turnout.
The Republican-controlled legislature of Texas was less than thrilled by these developments. In response, they enacted a number of voter-suppression laws that obviously targeted the Harris Country pro-voting policies. For example, the bill specifically prohibits a “public official” from “distributing an application to a person who did not request the application.” It also prevents the same official from completing any portion of the application (for example, from putting the person’s name and address on the application). The bill also prohibits drive-through and 24-hour voting, two additional Harris County innovations.
The Republicans argued and continue to state that the bill’s purpose is to prevent voting fraud. But this problem doesn’t exist according to the efforts of the Republican Texas Attorney General:
The Texas Attorney General’s office spent nearly twice as much time working on voter fraud cases this year as it did in 2018 – logging more than 22,000 staff hours – yet resolved just 16 prosecutions, half as many as two years ago, records show.
While the underlying reason for the Texas GOP’s efforts was never said aloud, the only logical answer is they don’t want Harris County to actively participate in state government. The reason is that not only is Houston the largest city in Texas, it is also trending blue. According to the website Politico, the final presidential vote totals for 2020 were 56/42.7, D/R. This trend will only grow more pronounced. According to the US Census, Houston grew 10.7% between April 1, 2010 and July 1, 2010. It is also the most diverse city in the US. The latter is clearly a threat to Republicans, who are far less diverse than Democrats.
This desire on the part of Republicans to limit Houston’s participation in government is all the more galling when analyzed against Houston’s economic impact on Texas. According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Texas’ chained GDP was $1.77 trillion in 2019, while Harris County’s was $380 billion — 21% of the state’s total.
So, despite Harris County’s clear economic importance to the state, the Republicans clearly think the area should be seen and not heard.
Houston should therefore secede.
Houston can more than survive on its own. The city’s $380 billion dollar economy is larger than a number of US states. It is diverse and more than capable of standing on its own. But more importantly, the city would no longer be subject to a state government that is more than willing to override local control when it is seen as politically advantageous.
It’s time to take the hint – to take our economic ball and go home.
 Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins launches 23-Point S.A.F.E. Plan Ahead of July Primary, Defender News Service, June 15, 2020. (https://defendernetwork.com/news/harris-county-clerk-chris-hollins-launches-23-point-s-a-f-e-plan-ahead-of-july-primary/)
 Jake Lahut, Massive Turnout in Houston Is Making Texas a Top State to Watch, November 3, 2020 (https://www.businessinsider.com/harris-county-turnout-numbers-texas-flip-2020-11?op=1)
 See generally the text of bill, located here: (https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/87R/billtext/pdf/HB00006I.pdf)
 Alexa Auro The Hard-Fought Texas Voting Bill is Poised to Become Law. Here’s What It Does. Aug. 30, 2021 (https://www.texastribune.org/2021/08/30/texas-voting-restrictions-bill/)
 Taylor Goldenstein, Ken Paxton’s Beerd-Up 2020 Voter Fraud Unit Closed 16 Minor Cases, All in Harris county, Dec. 22, 2020 (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/ken-paxtons-beefed-up-2020-voter-fraud-unit-closed-16-minor-cases-all-in-harris-county/ar-BB1c8EDP)