AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – As the pandemic continues, Attorney General Ken Paxton is urging the Supreme Court of Texas to order local election officials to follow laws concerning mail-in ballots.
According to Paxton, this comes after officials in certain counties, including Dallas, have told residents to request mail-in ballots if they fear contracting COVID-19 by claiming “disability” on their applications.
Paxton said mail-in ballots are only for certain types of groups, which includes those with disabilities and those who have actually tested positive for COVID-19.
Residents who are afraid of contracting the virus do not qualify for mail-in ballots, according to Paxton.
“Each misapplication of Texas election law damages the integrity of our elections and increases the risk of voter fraud. In-person voting is the surest way to prevent voter fraud and guarantee that every voter is who they claim to be and has a fair opportunity to cast their vote,” Paxton said. “It is unfortunate that certain county election officials have refused to perform their duties and have instead unlawfully gone beyond the Legislature’s determination of who is eligible to vote by mail. My office will continue to defend the integrity of Texas’s election laws.”
The issues of in-person voting have been a growing concern for residents across the state due to the coronavirus pandemic. Concerns such as long, packed lines and multiple people touching voting equipment have residents wanting to consider mail-in ballots.
However, Paxton has responded by saying, “Fear of contracting COVID-19, however, is a non-physical reaction to the current pandemic and does not amount to a sickness or physical condition that qualifies a voter to receive a ballot by mail.”
The other counties Paxton mentioned in this request are Cameron, El Paso, Harris and Travis.
The Texas Democratic Party issued a statement on Paxton’s request that read:
“After a month of thousands of mail in ballot requests sent by Texans who are under the age of 65, Paxton now wants to upset the election process. Apparently, none of the counties agree with Ken Paxton’s view that everybody under age 65 has to vote in person during a pandemic and the court shouldn’t either. The Legislature provided for vote-by-mail in these pandemic circumstances.”
“Whether the state courts or the federal courts resolve the matter, a citizen’s right to vote will be protected.”