AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked a ruling in Texas that expanded mail-in voting for residents who are concerned about contracting the coronavirus.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted the temporary stay Wednesday afternoon, which came after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an appeal earlier in the day.
A federal judge in San Antonio on Tuesday ordered the state to allow its voters to cast ballots by mail as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. There have been concerns from residents about contracting the virus at polling places.
However, Paxton said he took issue with the ruling due to the potential for fraud as it allows voters to get around protections that were made for residents with actual disabilities or illnesses. He filed an appeal for the ruling earlier Wednesday.
“Mail-in ballots are vulnerable to fraud,” Paxton said earlier Wednesday. “Two-thirds of all election fraud cases prosecuted by my office involve mail ballot fraud, also known as ‘vote harvesting.’ Allowing widespread mail-in ballots will lead to greater fraud and disenfranchise lawful voters.”
It was then announced that the Fifth Circuit put a temporary block on the ruling.
“I applaud the Fifth Circuit for issuing this temporary stay while the case proceeds. Protecting the integrity of elections is one of my top priorities, and allowing universal mail-in ballots would only lead to greater fraud and disenfranchise lawful voters,” Paxton said after the appeals court decision. “Law established by the Legislature must be followed consistently, including carefully limiting who may and may not vote by mail.”
Texas is expected to hold primary runoff elections in July.