Texas Democrats send nearly 2 million mail-in ballot applications to eligible seniors

Texas Politics

FILE – In this May 5, 2020, file photo, Jordan Smellie moves absentee ballots to be counted at City Hall in Garden City, Mich. The Michigan appeals court has denied a request to require the counting of absentee ballots received after the time polls close on Election Day. The ruling says the deadline remains intact despite voters’ approval of a constitutional amendment that expanded mail-in voting. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Democrats are executing their largest vote-by-mail campaign in the party’s history, sending a total of 1.75 million applications to eligible seniors during the 2020 election cycle.

The Texas Democratic Party announced that more than 815,000 applications will be sent in August as part of the party’s Vote-By-Mail Fund campaign to drive voter participation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: 4 out of 5 recent polls show Joe Biden over President Trump in Texas

“The majority of people who receive one of our applications actually turns out to vote,” said Cliff Walker, deputy executive director for the Texas Democratic Party.

The push to target seniors comes as efforts by the Texas Democratic Party to allow all Texans to vote by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic have been denied or stalled by courts. In June, the party filed two documents with the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

RELATED: Texas extends early voting for Nov. 3 Election

President Trump and Republican leaders in Texas, including Attorney General Ken Paxton, believe expanded mail-in voting will lead to increased fraud.

Trump told Fox News on Thursday that Democrats in Congress are holding up a second round of coronavirus relief over funding for the U.S. Postal Service and universal mail-in voting.

“(Democrats) want three and a half-billion dollars for something that’ll turn out to be fraudulent, that’s election money basically,” Trump said. “They want 25 billion for the Post Office… But if they don’t get those two items that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.”

While mail-in voting during the pandemic has become a fierce partisan debate, Walker doesn’t believe expanding options for voting benefits one party over another.

“This is about our democracy,” Walker said. “This is about fundamental freedoms and our right to vote.”

Local election officials are preparing for an unprecedented election in November; one that will most likely see record mail-in voting totals due to the coronavirus pandemic. KXAN politics reporter John Engel finds out how election officials are preparing for November on KXAN News at 10 p.m.

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