AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – A federal appeals court on Monday blocked a ruling that Texas must offer straight-ticket voting for November’s election.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a temporary stay of last week’s lower-court order as Texas officials fight the ruling, which would allow voters to choose one party’s entire slate of candidates at a stroke.
Texas begins early voting October 13, and the Texas Secretary of State’s office argued that making a change now would create a “logistical nightmare.”
Most states don’t offer straight-ticket voting. Texas has for decades, but Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law removing the option in 2020.
That measure was pushed through by a GOP-controlled Legislature that argued the change would encourage voters to cast better-informed ballots on Election Day.
Democrats challenged the change in court in March, citing long Super Tuesday lines in Houston where some voters waited more than an hour to vote. They said the law disproportionately hurts Black and Latino voters in big urban counties, where longer ballots mean wait times.
U.S. District Judge Mariana Garcia Marmolejo had ruled that amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 15,000 lives in Texas, the state should not risk making voting a longer process.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released the following statement:
“I commend the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for granting our request for an administrative stay. I will not stand by when the integrity of our election process is threatened. The 2020 general election is already underway. Any changes to the process now could jeopardize the fair and accurate administration of the election. Election officials across the state have taken the necessary precautions to ensure that voters can vote safely, and I will continue to protect the integrity of our elections.”
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)