Ann McGeehan, the director of the elections division at the Texas Secretary of State and a master of the arcana of state election law, is leaving the department after more than 22 years to take a position at the Texas County and District Retirement Systems. The move comes at a time when the state is in the throes of a controversy over the contentious voter ID bill that was passed out of the Texas Legislature earlier this year. The U.S. Department of Justice has put the state’s request for preclearance of the measure on hold, alleging Texas election officials need to provide more information to the federal agency to prove that the law, which would require that most voters furnish an photo ID in order to cast a ballot, does not infringe on the rights of minority voters.
Rich Parsons, the Secretary of State’s communications director, said McGeehan’s departure has nothing to do with the current demands of the DOJ and the allegations by Democrats that the law will disenfranchise some voters.
“She’s been here for 22 years, and she just decided it was time to see what else what’s going on out there,” he said, adding that the department has a very “dedicated and professional legal staff” that will continue working on the voter ID issue.
She's leaving right after the constitutional amendment elections and right before the state has to pull together plans for primary elections under maps (for House, Senate and Congress) that are even now being drawn by a panel of federal judges in San Antonio. Candidates will be filing for election under those maps starting in just over two weeks, on November 28.
Elizabeth Winn, whom Parsons said has been the department’s legal director since 1995, will be the interim director of the elections division.