Supreme Court rejects vote-by-mail for everyone in Texas during pandemic

AUSTIN, Texas – The United States Supreme Court on Friday rejected a request by Texas Democrats to allow the state’s 16 million registered voters to vote by mail during the coronavirus pandemic.

The denial is not the end of the ongoing battle over voting by mail in Texas, but it is still a loss for Democrats who made the emergency ruling request while the original case is tied up in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals for the United States.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor urged the lower court to consider the case “long before the November elections.” Voting by mail in Texas is generally limited to those over the age of 65 or those with an “illness or physical condition” that prevents voting in person.

For months, Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has struggled against expanding mail voting during the pandemic, saying fear of contracting the virus is an insufficient reason. A federal judge in Texas sided with Democrats in May, but that decision is on hold pending appeal.

Shortly after the ruling, President Donald Trump, who has spoken out against the vote by mail, tweeted: “Big victory in Texas with mail ballots!”

Early voting in Texas begins Monday for the second-round primary elections that were postponed until July for fear of coronaviruses, but Texas is now one of the nation’s coronavirus hot spots as confirmed cases reach record levels and Governor Greg Abbott reimposes restrictions.