The Supreme Court said Thursday that it won’t speed a case challenging Texas’ restrictions on mail-in voting, leaving in place lower court rulings that said fear of contracting the coronavirus isn’t a valid reason under state law.
The high court had previously refused to lift those lower court rulings, and now it says it won’t speed an appeal, either.
Democrats, Hispanic groups and voting-rights activists had pushed to allow universal mail voting, saying it won’t be safe to run an election with the pandemic still raging.
Texas is one of a minority of states that requires a valid reason to vote by mail. The state grants that privilege to those who will be absent on Election Day, are senior citizens, or have a disability.
Those pushing for expanded mail voting argue the disease — or fear of contracting it — should qualify as a disability. They also argued that allowing those over 65 a universal exception amounts to age discrimination against younger voters.
A federal district judge agreed, but the state Supreme Court and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals both ruled allowing universal voting for the coronavirus pandemic would make the state law meaningless.
President Trump and some fellow Republicans argue that expanding vote-by-mail will lead to more voter fraud — though even some GOP-led states have moved to embrace the practice amid the pandemic.
Texas has a primary runoff election slated for July 14, and the deadline to request a mail-in ballot was Thursday.