Texas Judge Rules Sternly Against Trump’s Election Sabotage Attempt

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Ahead of the November vote, states are still working out how to conduct an election that will potentially include more mail-in ballots than any prior election thanks to fears of COVID-19. As Donald Trump rants and rails against mail-in voting entirely (except in red states), red states like Texas are working to impose his wishes and curb the mail-in voting process.

A federal judge in Texas has ruled that the state’s process for rejecting mail-in ballots using a signature match process without notifying the voters whose ballots are not being counted is a violation of their constitutional rights. The process allows those tabulating the vote to reject ballots when their signatures aren’t an exact match but does not require that voters be notified that their right to vote is being taken from them.

According to The Texas Tribune:

‘In his order, Garcia ordered the Texas secretary of state to inform local election officials within 10 days that it is unconstitutional to reject a ballot based on a “perceived signature mismatch” without first notifying the voter about the mismatch and giving the voter a “meaningful opportunity” to correct the issue.’

The ruling stems from a case of two legal voters had their votes rejected although they had every right to vote in 2018. The voters were backed in court by civil rights groups that protect other swaths of vulnerable voters in Texas and across the country.

‘The ruling comes more than a year after two voters, George Richardson of Brazos County and Rosalie Weisfeld of McAllen, filed suit after their mail-in ballots were rejected by local officials who decided the signatures on the envelopes in which their ballots were returned were not theirs. The voters — joined by groups that represent Texans with disabilities, veterans and young voters — argued the state law that allows local election officials to reject mail-in ballots based on mismatching signatures violates the 14th Amendment.’

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear arguments earlier in the year regarding Texas’ decision to deny voters the right to cast a mail-in ballot due to fears of COVID-19. Instead, voters in Texas must be disabled or plan to be out of the state in order to be eligible to cast a vote by mail. But the federal judge in this case ruled that Texas is violating constitutional law and must make a plan to notify voters that their ballots will not be counted in enough time that they can correct the discrepancy.

‘Additionally, to “protect voters’ rights” in the upcoming election, Garcia said the Texas secretary of state must either advise local election officials that mail-in ballots may not be rejected using the existing signature comparison process, or notify them that they are required to set up a rejection notification system that would allow voters to challenge a rejection.’