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Supreme Court Delivers Another Big Ruling

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The US Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to Texas voting rules that allow seniors to vote by mail but not younger people.

In Texas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee, older voters may request an absentee ballot for any reason. In other states, older voters can only do so in specific circumstances.

The court declined to hear an appeal from three Texas voters on Monday, just as it did in 2021 when it denied a similar challenge to Indiana’s voting laws. It also declined to hear earlier versions of the Texas lawsuit, which the Texas Democratic Party filed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The challengers contended that the 26th Amendment prohibits age-based discrimination, which is what unequal voter treatment amounts to, according to USA Today.

The 1971 amendment, which reduced the voting age to 18, states that the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged … on account of age.”

“Whatever voting rights a state grants to people aged 65 and up, it must also grant to people under 65,” the Texas voters told the Supreme Court in their failed appeal.

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They asked the court to overturn an appeals court’s decision that Texas’ voting rules are legal because making it easier for some people to vote does not make it harder for others.

Furthermore, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that the right to vote did not include the right to vote by mail when the 26th Amendment was ratified.

Most states send ballots to all voters or allow any resident to request an absentee ballot.

However, Texas stated that it has taken a different approach to ensuring voting integrity, while also acknowledging that older voters may have limited mobility or other issues that make voting in person more difficult.

Anyone could request a mail-in ballot, but the state warned that doing so would increase the likelihood of voter fraud.

The 2022 midterm elections saw about one-third of voters send in their ballots.

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The voters who challenged Texas’ voting rules cited numerous barriers young voters face when trying to vote in person, including lack of transportation, long lines, difficulty finding or accessing polling places, and limited time off from work.

Mail-in voting has been a major topic going into November’s presidential election, with several key rulings coming down in courts across the country.

The U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals recently made a decision that could have an impact on the swing state of Pennsylvania.

The court overturned the order of a federal district court and ruled in favor of the Republican National Committee (RNC) regarding signature verification for mail-in voting in the “crucial” state of Pennsylvania.

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According to NPR, the case revolved around whether mail-in ballots that were mailed on time but either had an incorrect date or no date at all under the voter’s signature should be counted.

Democrats contended that the Materiality Provision outlined in Section (a)(2)(B) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is applicable in this scenario, thereby asserting that the ballots should be counted.

The Materiality Provision prohibits denial of the right to vote because of an “error or omission” on paperwork “related to any application, registration, or other act requisite to voting,” if the mistake is “not material in determining whether [an] individual is qualified” to vote.

The RNC responded by arguing that enforcement of the date requirement for a ballot “does not impinge on the right to vote” because the Materiality Provision “only prohibits immaterial requirements affecting the qualification and registration of a voter,” not other, more specific requirements for casting a ballot.

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