Lawsuit Seeks to Block Texas Vote-By-Mail Restrictions
AUSTIN, Texas — Opening a new front in the legal battle to expand voting by mail in Texas, a federal lawsuit filed Monday seeks to block a handful of state regulations described as onerous and detrimental to voting rights.
The lawsuit, filed in San Antonio by civil rights groups and five voters, argues that the regulations will keep many Texans from voting or having their ballots counted during the coronavirus outbreak.
“Should these provisions remain in effect come November, many Texans will suffer the loss of their right to vote, a right they will never be able to recover,” the lawsuit said.
The petition asks a federal judge to block four restrictions for mail-in voting:
— The requirement that voters sign ballots with a signature that matches a previously provided signature, which the lawsuit says puts ballots at risk of being rejected “based on the untrained guesses of overworked elections officials.”
— A ban the people assisting others in filling out or delivering mail-in ballots, which deters good Samaritans from helping voters in need, the lawsuit said.
— The requirement that ballots be postmarked no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day, and received by county election officials by 5 p.m. the following day, which the lawsuit argued could lead to missed deadlines as the postal service struggles to deliver a large number of mailed ballots amid a pandemic.
— The requirement that voters pay for the postage to submit ballots by mail, which the lawsuit calls an unfair stamp tax that can require voters to make unplanned trips to a store or post office, putting them in contact with others — a situation many would be trying to avoid.
Several of the challenged regulations were put in place to improve the security of mail-in ballots, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is fighting two other lawsuits that seek to expand voting by mail — both filed by the Texas Democratic Party — arguing that the effort is contrary to state law and would facilitate election fraud.
Under state law, voting by mail is reserved for those who expect to be out of the county, are 65 or older, have a disability or are incarcerated.
The latest lawsuit was filed by the Texas Conference of the NAACP, Voto Latino, the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans and five voters from across the state.
©2020 Austin American-Statesman, Texas
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
In The News
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republican lawmakers around the country are pressing ahead with efforts to tighten voting laws, despite growing warnings from business leaders that the measures could harm democracy and the economic climate. More than 50 companies and business organizations, including some in Texas, released... Read More
TALLAHASSEE -- The Republican-controlled Florida Legislature passed a sweeping election overhaul bill on Thursday that established a wide range of new voting restrictions in one of the nation’s key battleground states. The bill makes Florida the first major swing state won by former President Donald Trump... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — Less than three months after former President Donald Trump left the White House, the race to succeed him atop the Republican Party is already beginning. Trump's former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has launched an aggressive schedule, visiting states that will play a... Read More
ATLANTA (AP) — President Joe Biden called Georgia's new voting law an "atrocity." A leading Black bishop called for a national boycott of companies headquartered in the state. But when Stacey Abrams, the state's well-known voting rights advocate, is asked about the law that has set... Read More
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett joined hundreds of other capitalists and corporate titans in signing an open letter condeming “discrimnatory” legislation designed to curtail voting rights. The letter, which appeared under the headline “We Stand for Democracy,” appeared as a double-page, centerfold advertisement in Thursday’s editions of... Read More
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Republicans are moving to pass their own set of limits on voting as legislation restricting early voting access awaits a House committee assignment. The Texas bill, one of 361 bills pending nationwide with restrictive provisions, passed along party lines in the Senate... Read More