Texas' Republican attorney general has asked the state's high court to order local election officials to reject applications to vote by mail from people concerned with catching the coronavirus at polling places.
Attorney General Ken Paxton petitioned the Supreme Court of Texas Wednesday.
His request follows officials in some of the state's more Democratic cities approving measures to allow voters to claim a "disability" and request mail-in ballots if they are worried about getting sick while voting in person during an upcoming election.
Under current election rules, mail-in ballots will only be granted if certain criteria are met, including:
- if the voter will be away from the county on Election Day and during the hours that early voting is conducted, this includes members of the military, their spouses and dependents;
- if the voter is sick or disabled;
- if the voter is 65 years of age or older on Election Day; or
- if the voter is confined in jail
During the 2016 presidential election, 311,324 people in Texas voted by mail prior to Election Day, including 37,345 in Dallas County; 34,294 in Tarrant County; 12,378 in Collin County and 11,026 in Denton County. By-mail voters accounted for 3.19% of the vote statewide, roughly 3% in Dallas and Tarrant counties, and roughly 2% in Collin and Denton counties.
A lawyer for the Texas Democratic Party accused Paxton of trying to "upset the election process."
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you