Texas Democrats lost another attempt to undermine state voting laws in the courts.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition filed by the Texas Democrat Party asking the Court to review the party’s lawsuit seeking to force the state to allow everyone to vote by mail, a process more vulnerable to fraud and abuse than in-person voting.
Under Texas law, only voters who are 65 or older, disabled, in jail, or outside their home county during an election are eligible to vote by mail.
Last September, a federal appeals court rejected Democrats’ argument that Texas’ limits on voting by mail unconstitutionally discriminate on the basis of age.
The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that allowing older voters to cast mail-in ballots does not violate the 26th Amendment, which prohibits denying or abridging the right to vote on account of age. That ruling reversed a liberal district judge’s May order that said any Texas voter could claim fear of the Chinese coronavirus as an excuse to cast a mail ballot.
The 5th Circuit blocked the district court’s order in June, saying the coronavirus has not given unelected federal judges “a roving commission to rewrite state election codes.”
The 5th Circuit’s ruling also sent the case back to district court to rehear the Texas Democrat Party’s other challenges to the state’s vote-by-mail law, which they didn’t raise during the appeal. Further action on the case is pending.
Texas Democrats have unsuccessfully pursued “universal, no-excuse vote by mail” for years, along with other policies that make voting less secure, including it in their party platform and as a priority among their primary ballot propositions. In the lead-up to the 2020 election, Democrats attempted to bypass the Legislature and instead use courts and coronavirus fears to push their preferred policies.
The vote-by-mail case is one of several legal challenges to state voting processes expected to impact election integrity reforms considered by the Texas Legislature during this session, which began on January 12.
Citizens can weigh in on election integrity and other issues of concern by contacting their elected state officials.
Information about bills filed, House and Senate committees and meetings, and other resources to help citizens participate in the legislative session are available at Texas Legislature Online.