Legal Scholar: Mail-In Ballots Unlikely in Texas Runoff Elections

The debate over mail-in voting has become a political hot potato being tossed around in both state and federal courts.

Voting rights groups argue the COVID-19 pandemic poses a public health risk, so everyone should be allowed vote by absentee ballot. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argues fear of getting sick does not qualify for mail-in ballots.

“As it stands now nothing has changed. I think it's unlikely the plaintiffs will win here. I think Texas will probably win this one,” says Josh Blackman at South Texas College of Law Houston.

“As we get closer to the (July runoff) elections, this gets harder and harder to implement. Generally, courts don't like having disruptions or unexpected changes right before the election,” he says. “As much as people might love to have absentee balloting for everyone, I don't think Texas law permits that wide of a remedy.”

However, Blackman says November's presidential election could see a patchwork of voting across the country.

“I think in Texas, you'll probably have to vote unless you have a specific health concern, but other states may be more permissive.”

Harris County already approved millions to send mail-in ballots to every registered voter, pending a final court decision.