Texas Democratic Party sues Gov. Greg Abbott, others to demand vote-by-mail election

Texas Politics

Election workers begin to sort a new batch of ballots collected earlier in the day from drop boxes at the King County Elections office Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Renton, Wash. Voters in Washington all vote only by mail. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Tuesday, the Texas Democratic Party filed a lawsuit against Governor Greg Abbott, Secretary of State Ruth Hughes, and others to demand a vote-by-mail election during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The lawsuit, also filed against the Travis County Clerk and the Bexar County Elections Administrator, and the party demand that the leaders follow what they say is Texas law, which would allow voting by mail in the May 2 and May 26 elections.

Back in March, the party urged both Abbott and Hughes to allow voting by mail. The group says that fears of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, will keep people at home and away from the polls.

Chairperson Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“As we face the worst public health crisis in a century, neither Governor Abbott nor Secretary of State Hughes have issued concrete guidance to county election officials on whether voters can cast a mail-in ballot during the coronavirus pandemic.

Republicans have opposed vote-by-mail without providing any credible justification. Current law allows any voter whose health may be injured by voting in person to vote by mail. As our city and county leaders issue shelter-in-place orders and our residents are urged to stay inside, we must protect Texans’ ability to cast a ballot without jeopardizing their health or safety.

Texas Democrats will continue to protect our fundamental right to vote and the integrity of our elections. We must not allow the coronavirus outbreak to halt our democracy.”

Currently, to vote by mail in Texas people must be 65 or older, disabled, out of the county or confined in jail but otherwise are ineligible. Those people must submit an application to receive a ballot.

On Tuesday, the state of Wisconsin held its election, despite recommendations from health officials to postpone — after Republican Supreme Court members voted late Monday night to axe the Democratic Governor’s previous decision to postpone the election for two months.

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