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SCOTUS Denies Challenge To TX Vote-By-Mail Restrictions

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


The Supreme Court of the United States has declined to hear a challenge to Texas’ voting rules, which allow seniors to automatically vote by mail but not younger people.

Similar rules are in place in other states, including Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee, where older voters can request an absentee ballot for any reason, while younger voters can only do so in certain situations.

The court’s decision not to hear the appeal from three Texas voters is similar to its previous rejection of a similar challenge to Indiana’s voting laws in 2021. The court also declined to hear earlier versions of the Texas lawsuit that the Texas Democratic Party had filed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The challengers argued that the unequal treatment of voters amounts to age-based discrimination, which goes against the 26th Amendment. This amendment, ratified in 1971 to lower 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 over, it must also grant to people under 65,” the Texas voters told the Supreme Court in their unsuccessful appeal.

They wanted the court to reverse an appeals court’s decision that Texas’ rules are legal since making it easier for some people to vote doesn’t make it harder for others.

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Also, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said that the right to vote did not include the right to vote by mail when the 26th Amendment was made law.

Most states either mail ballots to all voters or let any resident ask for an absentee ballot.

Yet, Texas said it has taken a different approach to safeguarding the integrity of voting, while also acknowledging that older voters may have limited mobility or other issues that make it more difficult for them to vote in person.

Anyone could ask for a mail-in ballot, but the state said that would make voter fraud more likely.

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.

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, The Daily Wire reported.

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