Texas Democrats are once again challenging a state election law that limits no-excuse mail-in voting to voters aged 65 years or older, appealing their case to the U.S. Supreme Court after lower courts rejected their claims.

Democrats want federal courts to overturn state law and 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.

Attorneys from Texas and California filed a petition last week asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review Democrats’ claims that state-imposed age limits on voting by mail violate the Constitution’s Twenty-Sixth Amendment.

Does Texas’s restriction of no-excuse mail-in voting to individuals aged “65 years or older on election day,” as provided in Texas Election Code § 82.003, violate the Twenty-Sixth Amendment’s mandate that the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of age”?

The petitioners said the case is “an ideal vehicle for resolving an important question of constitutional law.”

Texas Democrats have unsuccessfully pursued “universal, no-excuse vote by mail” for years, along with other policies that make voting less secure.

In the lead-up to the 2020 election, Democrats attempted to bypass the Texas Legislature and use courts and coronavirus fears to push their preferred policies.

The Texas Democrat Party filed a lawsuit in early 2020 seeking to make voting by mail universal, using the COVID-19 outbreak as an excuse.

A federal district court ruled in their favor, saying Texas’ law limiting no-excuse mail voting to voters 65 and older was unconstitutional as applied during the pandemic.

However, when the state appealed, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Democrats’ arguments and remanded the case back to the district court. Democrats appealed to the Supreme Court, which rejected their petition for review.

The Democrats then changed their argument, claiming that Texas’ mail-ballot age restriction is unconstitutional, notwithstanding COVID-19 concerns.

The district court dismissed that claim, and the Democrats appealed to the Fifth Circuit. In September, the appellate court also ruled against the Democrats and affirmed the district court’s decision that the age limit for voting by mail does not violate the Twenty-Sixth Amendment.

Democrats are again asking the Supreme Court to consider their claims.

A response is due by January 8, 2024.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.