Supreme Court sides with Texas GOP officials over mail-in ballots, Trump calls it a ‘big win’
The Supreme Court, for now, is staying out of a dispute over whether to allow greater mail-in voting in Texas because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The justices on Friday kept in place a lower court order blocking a request from state Democratic leaders to expand the mail option, at least while the case is being litigated.
“The application to vacate stay presented to [Justice Samuel Alito] and by him referred to the Court is denied,” the order said.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that “I do not disagree with the decision to refrain from addressing them for the first time here, in the context of an emergency application to vacate a stay of an injunction. But I hope that the Court of Appeals will consider the merits of the legal issues in this case well in advance of the November election.”
President Trump celebrated the order.
“Big WIN in Texas on Mail-In Ballots!” he tweeted Friday.
In May, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans put on a hold the ruling after a federal judge in San Antonio ruled that Texas must give all 16 million registered voters in the state the option of voting by mail during the pandemic.
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had cheered the decision, saying that allowing everyone to vote by mail “would only lead to greater fraud and disenfrachise lawful voters.” U.S. District Judge Fred Biery said in his ruling Tuesday that there was scant evidence to support those claims, and states that already allow all-mail votes have not reported significant fraud.
Voting by mail in Texas is generally limited to those 65 or older or those with a “sickness or physical condition” that prevents voting in person. Paxton has asserted that fear of getting the virus doesn’t qualify as a disability under the law.
The fight in Texas is one of several nationwide over expanding access to mail-in ballots amid the pandemic. Primary runoff elections in Texas are set for July 14.