AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Democrats are urging the Texas Secretary of State to allow mail-in ballots for the upcoming May 2 and May 26 elections over concerns people won’t come out to vote because of the coronavirus.
Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa wrote in a letter, “It does not seem viable for Texas to hold meaningful elections in May in which all eligible voters can participate, if those elections rely on polling place-based voting.”
KXAN has reached out to the Texas Secretary of State for comment and will update this story when that office responds.
Hinojosa pointed out many facilities used as polling places, such as schools, have shut down, and that many election workers are older adults who may be more vulnerable to the virus.
“We should develop contingency plans now that allow the May 2 and May 26 elections to be held entirely by mail to avoid the risks of spreading COVID-19 at polling places and to avoid the many logistical barriers that we are likely to face as this crisis intensifies, polling places close, and our normal pool of election workers practice social distancing and seclusion,” Hinojosa wrote.
He also called for the state to reallocate funds toward printing and mailing ballots.
Currently, to vote by mail in Texas people must be 65 or older, disabled, out of the county or confined in jail but otherwise eligible. Those people must submit an application to receive a ballot.
Both Louisiana and Georgia postponed their primary elections because of the virus.