AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) - Travis County District Court Judge Tim Sulak signaled that he’s going to sign the paperwork granting a temporary injunction allowing all registered voters to qualify for a mail-in ballot as a result of the covid19 pandemic. The judge was ruling on a lawsuit filed by the Texas Democratic Party.
Currently by statute in Texas, only those over 65, injured or disabled or out of the country are allowed to vote by mail. Chad Dunn, the Texas Democratic Party General Council argued in the Wednesday hearing, carried out on ZOOM, that Texans social distancing due to the pandemic qualify to vote by mail under the ‘disability clause’. Dunn said, “The definition is in the statute. Do you have a physical condition that makes it dangerous to go vote? And everybody who doesn't have immunity yet to covid19 definitely qualifies.”
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa celebrated the decision releasing a statement saying “Today is a victory for all Texans. The right to vote is central to our democracy.” Hinojosa went on to say, “As public health officials began speaking to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, the Texas Democratic Party knew voting by mail would have to reduce the demand for in-person voting. In Wisconsin, we saw the debacle that ensues when voters are prevented from mailing their ballots during a pandemic. Voters should not have to choose between their lives or their right to vote.”
In a statement, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton referred to the decision as an ‘unlawful expansion of mail-in voting’ that will undermine the security and integrity of our elections. Paxton also challenged the ruling saying, “I am disappointed that the district court ignored the plain text of the Texas Election Code to allow perfectly healthy voters to take advantage of special protections made available to Texans with actual illness or disabilities.”
There was no word of whether the State plans to appeal the decision, but Paxton clearly left that door open saying, “My office will continue to defend Texas’s election laws to ensure that our elections are fair and our democratic process is lawfully maintained.”