Texas AG: Fear of COVID-19 not a qualifying reason to receive absentee ballot
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that fear of the COVID-19 pandemic is not a viable reason for Texas residents to apply for an absentee ballot for this year’s upcoming elections.
To vote using an absentee ballot in Texas, a voter must apply for disability, which in the Texas Election Code is defined as a “sickness or physical condition” that prevents a Texan from voting in person.
“Mail ballots based on disability are specifically reserved for those who are physically ill and cannot vote in-person as a result. Fear of contracting COVID-19 does not amount to a sickness or physical condition as required by the Legislature,” Paxton said in a statement. “The integrity of our democratic election process must be maintained, and law established by our Legislature must be followed consistently.”
Democrats across the country have been calling for states to allow all registered voters have the option of using mail-in ballots, an idea that Republicans and President Trump have strongly rebuked.
“Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to state wide mail-in voting. Democrats are clamoring for it. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans,” Trump tweeted last week.
Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to state wide mail-in voting. Democrats are clamoring for it. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans. @foxandfriends
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2020
The president himself voted by mail in a Florida election last month. Florida, unlike Texas, allows any voter to request an absentee ballot without having to have a reason.
Texas Democrats last week filed a federal lawsuit against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Secretary of State Ruth Hughes and others, demanding that all Texans be allowed to vote via mail amidst the pandemic.