Groups Sue State of Texas, Saying Current Voting Rules Are Unconstitutional

Flickr / Erik (HASH) Hersman
A lawsuit filed in federal court in San Antonio alleges the state of Texas isn't doing enough to protect the rights of disabled citizens and others who vote by mail-in ballot.

The Texas Civil Rights Project on Wednesday sued on behalf of a pair of voters whose mail-in ballots were pitched out by local elections officials after they questioned whether the signatures were authentic.

The individuals — Dr. George Richardson of Brazos County and Rosalie Weisfeld of McAllen — allege that the state lets "untrained" elections officials make the final call on whether ballot signatures belong to the actual voter. "No advance notice is given to voters before their vote is rejected, and the decision to reject a mail-in ballot is final," according to the suit.

Texas allows people to vote by mail if they are outside of their county during elections or if they have disabilities, are 65 years or older or are in jail but otherwise eligible to vote.

Groups representing people with disabilities, young voters and veterans joined the suit, which argues that the current rules violate the U.S. Constitution and the Americans With Disabilities Act. They want the court to either stop election officials from rejecting mail-in ballots or require the state to notify voters in cases where there's a question about their signature.

At least 1,873 mail-in ballots were rejected in 2018 general election based on questions about the validity of their signatures, according to the suit.

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