Voting locations have taken all the necessary precautions to ensure that voters have a safe experience while voting. We've all changed our routine habits and safety precautions over the past several months because of COVID, but if you have felt safe enough to venture out to go to the grocery store, for fast food, or get gas for your car, you should feel safe enough to go vote.
As always, there are multiple voting locations open around Harris County, and you can find them by going to https://www.harrisvotes.org/ for more information.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: You can vote in the runoff election EVEN IF you didn't vote in the primary back in March
There are no Republican runoff races on the ballot this year that directly affect the Harris County Criminal Justice World with the major exception of Sheriff. Candidates Joe Danna and Paul Day are facing off against each other to see who will challenge incumbent Sheriff Ed Gonzalez on the ballot in November. I'm not personally familiar with either Mr. Danna or Mr. Day so I don't have a recommendation here.
Whoever wins the runoff will have a very uphill battle against Sheriff Gonzalez.
On the Democratic Ballot, there are a handful of contested races that deserve your attention.
339th District Court
In the March primary, Harris County Assistant Public Defender Te'iva Bell garnered 44% of the vote in a three-person contest. Her opponent, Candace White, received 36%. As I noted in my earlier write up on the primaries, I don't know Candace White. I see that she is a municipal court judge, which handles only low-level misdemeanor cases.
By contrast, I've known Te'iva Bell since she was a brand new prosecutor at the District Attorney's Office. She was my friend then and I'm proud to say that she is still my friend. After leaving the D.A.'s Office, she went on to become one of the original defenders at the Public Defenders Office. She has become a leader and respected voice in that Office, handling some of the most serious cases. She is by far the most qualified candidate.
My Vote: Te'iva Bell
Justice, 14th Court of Appeals - Place Seven
My friend (and wife of my friend and fellow defense attorney, Lewis Thomas) Cheri Thomas is in a runoff for Justice of the 14th Court of Appeals against Tamika "Tami" Craft.
Cheri has an amazing legal resume after having graduated from the University of Texas Law School with honors. She worked in a Federal clerkship for the Honorable Jorge Solis in the Northern District of Texas before going to work for Baker Botts. From Baker Botts, she went on to become a partner with Stuart, PC. In 2017, she became a staff attorney for the 14th Court of Appeals, where she has spent the past three years working on both civil and criminal cases. She is uniquely qualified for the job.
Ms. Craft's campaign website does not list have a detailed list of her professional resume, but I found this interesting article on law.com that interviewed both candidates, and left me with a lot of questions about her background. I encourage you to read it and come to your own conclusions, but I think it is pretty clear that Cheri has more experience for this position.
My Vote: Cheri Thomas
And also . . .
State Senator, District 138
If you happen to live in District 138 (and if you don't know, go check, You really should know these things), HCDA alumni, defense attorney and my friend Akilah Bacy almost avoided a runoff with an impressive 46.77% of the vote in a three-person race in the March primary. If you are voting in the Democratic Primary in District 138, please go vote for Akilah!
Not my District, but my vote would totally go to: Akilah Bacy
Whether you agree with my recommendations or not on these elections, please remember that ALL candidates on both sides of the ballot work their butts off on campaigns for the opportunity to serve the public. They ALL deserve your consideration and they ALL deserve your participation in the voting process.
Don't let COVID keep you away from voting.