Several lawsuits filed in Travis County last month threatened to delay voter-approved property tax cuts and raises for retired teachers. State officials, however, argue the cases should be thrown out.

Gov. Greg Abbott canvassed the results of the Nov. 7 election on Dec. 4. The 13 propositions approved by Texas voters are now part of the state Constitution, the secretary of state’s office said in a Dec. 5 court filing.

Officials argued the six lawsuits—which are based on false claims that voting machines used across Texas were not certified—were improperly served and are therefore invalid. State law requires the suits be filed and served before the election is canvassed.

What you need to know

Election activists filed the lawsuits days after the Nov. 7 election, asking Travis County district courts to overturn the results and hold a new election using paper ballots.

The Texas Senate rapidly passed a bill addressing the lawsuits on Dec. 1. Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, said the lawsuits could mean “none of those matters that the people of Texas have spoken on, none of those would take effect.”

But the House did not consider the measure before both chambers concluded the fourth special legislative session on Dec. 5.

According to court filings, the election activists “never served a citation” properly and did not provide an accurate deadline for the secretary of state to respond to the legal challenge. Since the election results have been canvassed by the governor, the plaintiffs no longer have the option to refile their suits.

The attorney general and secretary of state asked the court to dismiss the cases because the 13 amendments have already been added to the Texas Constitution. The filings also argue the plaintiffs did not sufficiently prove the alleged “illegal votes” would impact the election.

“This Court will never see a simpler example of mootness,” the filing reads.

What’s next?

If the lawsuits are dismissed, the constitutional amendments would go into effect as planned. But it is unclear when a judge may rule on the cases.

During a Dec. 5 press conference, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick slammed House Speaker Dade Phelan for declining to consider the Senate’s election bill. The proposal, which Patrick called “an insurance policy,” would have tightened the timeline for courts to rule on challenges to constitutional amendment elections.

“I hope that the governor’s plan and his response ... works in the courts,” Patrick said. “I have faith in the governor and his legal expertise, but we don’t know what a judge is going to rule.”