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.
Texas voters must be notified of signature issues on mail ballot, federal judge rules https://t.co/cjLy14F57F
— Laredo Morning Times (@lmtnews) September 9, 2020
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.’
Fed. judge grants preliminary injunction that will allow all Texas registered voters to apply to vote by mail during the coronavirus pandemic.
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) May 20, 2020
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.’
A U.S. District judge ruled that Texas’ process for determining whether there is a mismatch btw a voter’s signature on their ballot envelope & the signature used on their application to vote by mail “plainly violates certain voters’ constitutional rights.” https://t.co/UCmRapFoN6
— Drogon (@drogon_dracarys) September 9, 2020
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.’
U.S. Supreme Court declines Texas Democrats' request to allow all Texans to vote by mail
The high court declined to immediately reinstate a federal judge's order that would have allowed all Texans to request absentee ballots if they fear catching COVID-19 https://t.co/o3qRpXYPYz
— BM (@bmangh) June 26, 2020