The all Republican-court agreed with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who had filed a petition to order local officials to follow state laws regarding mail-in ballots after a Court of Appeals ruled to allow anyone in Travis County to request a ballot, according to FOX 7 in Austin.
President Trump, who has repeatedly claimed that mail-in voting is associated with widespread voter fraud, tweeted after the ruling.
“Big win in Texas on the dangerous Mail In Voting Scam!” the president wrote.
Texas Supreme Court: Lack of immunity to COVID-19 alone not enough to vote by mail https://t.co/rAZVRF4nkj Big win in Texas on the dangerous Mail In Voting Scam!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2020
The ruling was a loss for the Texas Democratic Party and voter rights groups, which had sought expanding mail-in voting during the pandemic.
To receive a mail-in ballot in Texas, voters must either claim a disability, be over 65, in jail, or away from their home county during the election, according to the Texas Tribune.
“We agree with the State that a voter’s lack of immunity to COVID-19, without more, is not a ‘disability’ as defined by the Election Code,” the court’s ruling said, adding that voters must determine if they meet the definition of “disability” and “election officials have no responsibility to question or investigate a ballot application that is valid on its face,” FOX 7 reported.
Voters citing a disability when requesting a ballot are not required to to specify.
“The question before us is not whether voting by mail is better policy or worse, but what the Legislature has enacted. It is purely a question of law,” the ruling said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “Our authority and responsibility are to interpret the statutory text and give effect to the Legislature’s intent.”
Having the virus, however, could entitle a voter to a mail-in ballot.
Paxton, in a statement said he applauded the court “for ruling that certain election officials’ definition of ‘disability’ does not trump that of the Legislature, which has determined that widespread mail-in balloting carries unacceptable risks of corruption and fraud.”
“Election officials have a duty to reject mail-in ballot applications from voters who are not entitled to vote by mail. In-person voting is the surest way to maintain the integrity of our elections, prevent voter fraud and guarantee that every voter is who they claim to be,” he said, according to FOX 7.
Author: Brie Stimson