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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Voters Sue in San Antonio Court to Overturn Age Restrictions for Mail-in Ballots

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 2:55 PM

  • Sanford Nowlin
Citing the health risks of the COVID-19 pandemic, six Texans filed suit in a San Antonio federal court Wednesday to overthrow state rules that limit eligibility for mail-in voting to those over the age of 65.

The lawsuit maintains that the state's election code violates constitutional protections against age discrimination for voters. Under current rules, Texans under 65 can only ask for mail-in ballots under a narrow set of circumstances, such as having a serious disability or being outside the U.S. during an election.

The lawsuit urges the judge to strike down the age restrictions, saying the pandemic presents health risks to people if they're forced to cast ballots in crowded polling places.

If Texas doesn't ease restrictions, it will "force millions of voters into an untenable position, choosing whether to forego their most fundamental right or having no choice but to vote in person, at what are likely to be understaffed and overcrowded polling places, putting their own health at risk, and needlessly exacerbating the spread of the virus," the suit argues.

The plaintiffs in the suit are all between the ages of 18 and 28, according to the filing.

Democrats across the country have argued that states should expand voting by mail due to the pandemic. However, Republicans — who tend to fare more poorly in high-turnout elections — oppose expanding mail-in ballots, saying such a move is unnecessary.

However, Dems won a recent victory in Texas when Travis County district judge issued an order allowing all voters in the state to request mail-in ballots, saying their risk of exposure to the coronavirus constitutes a disability.

Texas Democratic Party has since filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to provide Texas voters and election officials clarity on the ruling in advance of the July 14 primary runoff election

State GOP leaders are all but certain to appeal the Travis County ruling.

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