The Texas Democratic Party petitioned the US Supreme Court to allow all Texans to vote by mail during the pandemic.
Texas law currently allows voters who will be 65 or older on Election Day to vote by mail, while forcing nearly everyone else to go in person to their polling place and risk exposing themselves to COVID-19 in order to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
At issue in this case, Garcia v. Abbott, is whether Texas’ strict limits on who is eligible to vote by mail constitute age discrimination under the 26th Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Constitution bars discrimination in voting based on age, sex, and race.
The three individual plaintiffs on this case are individuals who will not yet be 65 by Election Day but would otherwise apply to vote by mail.
Specifically, plaintiffs are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to:
• Immediately lift the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ stay, which would leave Judge Fred Biery’s opinion in place that allows any Texan “who seek[s> to vote by mail to avoid transmission of the [COVID-19> virus” to vote by mail.
• Grant certiorari and agree to hear the case in the fall on the merits of the claim that Texas’ vote-by-mail restrictions violate the 26th Amendment.
Texas Democrats have been fighting the state’s Republican administration to allow all Texans to vote by mail during the pandemic in both State and Federal courts. Back on June 4th a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the Texas Attorney General, staying a lower court decision that would have allowed all Texans to vote by mail.
On Tuesday Chad Dunn, the General Counsel for the Texas Democratic Party filed two petitions with the US Supreme Court. The first petition was to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to lift the stay put in place by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The second petition asked the Supreme Court to rule on the Democrats case.
On a ZOOM press conference call on Tuesday Dunn said, “If the Supreme Court is not to lift the stay immediately then it should take up this case on the merits because it has critical importance in Texas, as well as two other States in the 5th Circuit, Louisiana and Mississippi.”
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:
“We started this case promising Texas voters that we’d never stop fighting for their right to vote. Today, we are continuing our promise by petitioning the United States Supreme Court to provide all Texans their free, fair, and equal right to vote.”