Thursday decision A ruling that would have allowed Texas voters to request ballots by mail for fear that the lack of immunity to Covid-19 would put them at risk if they voted in person, is held at the United States’ 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
District Judge Fred Biery had issued a decision In May, that expanded mail voting by allowing the state’s “disability” election provision to apply to all registered voters under the age of 65, who currently have to provide excuses when requesting absentee ballots.
The Texas Election Code defines “disability” as “an illness or physical condition that prevents the voter from showing up at the polling place on Election Day without the likelihood of needing personal assistance or damaging the voter’s health.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican who has argued that the expanded application of “disability” could lead to electoral fraud, applauded Thursday’s unanimous decision.
“Allowing mail ballots, which are particularly vulnerable to fraud, would only lead to further electoral fraud and would deprive legitimate voters. The unanimous ruling of the Fifth Circuit ends this flagrant violation of Texas law,” he said.
In both 2016 and 2018, approximately 25% of US voters. USA They cast their vote by mail, which includes the handful of states that conduct elections entirely by mail and traditional absentee ballots.
This is another in a series of wins for Paxton, who last month was granted a temporary stay if. The Texas Supreme Court last week It also spoke out against expanded access to postal voting in a separate but similar state case.
The Texas Democratic Party, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, criticized Thursday’s ruling and said people should not have to choose between their health and their right to vote.
“Voters who are legitimately concerned about the safety of in-person voting should have the option to vote by mail. The Constitution prohibits dividing our rights by our age, gender, or race, and today’s Fifth Circuit decision would allow voters of a certain age, different voting rights than the rest of us, “said party president Gilberto Hinojosa in a statement.
Hinojosa noted that the case may need “instructions from the United States Supreme Court.”
Democrats have lobbied heavily for additional access to voting by mail, as Americans are increasingly nervous about going to the polls in person during the pandemic and the states that held primaries in person during the first weeks of the outbreak. they saw a drastic reduction in voter turnout. Republicans, however, including President Donald TrumpThey have resisted those calls, citing fears of electoral fraud.