Following recent decisions by the Texas Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Fifth Circuit, Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday issued another guidance letter to Texas county judges and election officials, warning that Texans may not claim disability based on fears of contracting COVID-19 to obtain a mail-in ballot. Due to inaccurate statements by public officials and private groups, Attorney General Paxton issued his first guidance letter on May 1.
“As the Texas Supreme Court held, mail ballots based on disability are specifically reserved for those who are legitimately ill and cannot vote in-person without assistance or jeopardizing their health. The Texas Election Code is lawful, constitutional, and correctly protects our elections from fraud and voters from disenfranchisement,” said Attorney General Paxton. “It is vital that we work together to preserve the integrity of our democratic election process and consistently follow the law established by our legislature.”
Friday’s letter follows a Texas Supreme Court decision that held that a voter may not claim “disability” for the purpose of casting a ballot by mail merely because the voter lacks immunity to COVID-19. Additionally, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that Texas is likely to win arguments that the Election Code’s ballot-by-mail provisions are consistent with the Equal Protection Clause and the Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Following these rulings, the Texas Democratic Party and other groups filed a motion to dismiss their state court lawsuit this week.
Read a copy of the letter here.