After losing his last chief election officer over a botched review of the state’s voter rolls, Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday appointed a new secretary of state: Ruth Ruggero Hughs.
Ruggero Hughs is moving from the Texas Workforce Commission, which she has chaired since August 2018. She joins the secretary of state’s office nearly three months after Democratic senators blocked the confirmation of her predecessor, David Whitley, who questioned the voter registration of thousands of naturalized citizens.
Whitley resigned on May 27, lacking enough votes in the Texas Senate to keep the job after he oversaw an effort to scour the voter rolls for supposed noncitizens. The review instead threatened the voting rights of tens of thousands of voters of color, landed the state in federal court and prompted a congressional inquiry into voting rights violations….
By waiting to retire until the last day of the legislative session, Whitley allowed Abbott to pick his replacement without needing a confirmation vote from the Texas Senate, which will be unable to vet his new pick until lawmakers return to the Capitol in January 2021.
The Texas Constitution states that the governor shall “without delay” make another appointment to fill a vacancy in the secretary of state’s office. Abbott’s office did not previously respond to questions about why the post remained vacant much longer than when he replaced previous secretaries of state.