Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has released a legal ruling in response to a request for records under the Public Information Act reiterating that governmental entities have a legal duty to redact any personally identifying information on voters’ ballots when a Public Information Act request is made. 

In Texas, voters have an absolute constitutional right to ballot secrecy. Public information laws generally permit governmental entities to redact “information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision”. Attorney General Paxton has repeatedly advised governmental entities that any disclosure of election records that contain personally identifying information must be done in such a way as to preserve the privacy of a voter’s choices. 

In August 2022, Attorney General Paxton issued a formal legal opinion explaining that “Any personally identifiable information contained in election records that could tie a voter’s identity to their specific voting selections must be redacted.” The Texas Legislature then codified this guidance into law in 2023, and Attorney General Paxton reiterated it as recently as May 2024 in a subsequent formal legal opinion, noting that such redactions are necessary “to protect the constitutional right to a secret ballot in Texas.” In the most recent ruling, Attorney General Paxton has yet again reminded county officials that the “requirement of secrecy is mandatory” and that “election records custodians must redact such personally identifiable information.”  

It is the duty of the counties to redact the pertinent information to maintain ballot secrecy as they have been repeatedly guided to do. 

To read the ruling, click here.