Mail-in voting invites election fraud, say the state officials, blocking the Democratic Party’s plan to include all aged 18 and above to vote by mail.
The Texas Democrats faced another roadblock as their lawsuit filed earlier this year to oppose the current election state rules on mail-in voting, as the Court of Appeals did not agree with their argument.
The state’s mail-in voting currently only applies to 65 years old and above, and has additional conditions on younger voters. Voters aged 18-64 are eligible to vote by mail if sick or disabled, or out of the country on both election day and during the period for early voting in person, or confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.
The Democrats, led by Gilberto Hinojosa, argue this state rule discriminates age and poses harm to younger voters who want to vote but are also afraid to go out due to the risk of COVID-19. They contend the state to have violated the 26th Amendment’s protections against voting restrictions that discriminate on age, but the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals thought otherwise.
On Thursday, the federal appeals court consisting of a three-judge panel ruled that the state can keep its current eligibility rules for mail-in voting.
The panel said that “conferring a privilege” to voters 65 and older is not a violation of the 26th Amendment.
The Democrats argued that the disparity in the lower age bracket’s conditions constitutes a “denial or abridgment” of the younger voter’s right to vote. Yet, according to the federal panel, such a claim fails because the addition of benefit to the older set of voters does not “deny or abridge” the younger bracket’s 26th Amendment right to vote.
Solicitor General of Texas, Kyle Hawkins, justified the Legislature’s decision in allowing a specific group to request absentee ballots doesn’t “deny or abridge” anyone else’s right to vote.
According to Hawkins, the election laws have been “carefully crafted” by the Legislature and scrapped universal mail-in ballots susceptible to voter fraud. He represented Attorney General Ken Paxton, Governor Greg Abbott, and Secretary of State Ruth R. Hughs, the case defendants.
Hawkins added, the election laws should not be rewritten just a few weeks shy before a national election.
Chad Dunn, the Texas Democratic Party general counsel, said the state has no evidence of widespread fraud on mail in votes. Dunn subsequently asked…What makes the older voters privileged…and even being allowed to be even suspected of fraud while other people are just not allowed the right to mail in their ballots to prevent the spread of Covid19.
The legal duel continues in the lower court, where the appellate court directed the case for another hearing of the plaintiff’s remaining arguments on the state’s election restrictions.
Texas Attorney General Paxton celebrated the panel’s decision saying to continue protecting the election’s integrity in Texas, and “uphold the rule of law.”
Paxton’s apprehension about mail-in voting echoes that of US Attorney General Bill Barr and even the ordinary citizens who only wish to have a legitimate and honest election.