A federal appeals court on Thursday continued to keep on hold any expansion of mail voting in Texas, where President Donald Trump has cheered on a fight against relaxing balloting rules amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision by 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is not the last word on the matter, but it stops, for now, a lower-court ruling that had opened the door for Texas' 16 million registered voters to cast ballots by mail. The case remains before the court with primary runoff elections in Texas, which are set for July 14, now less than six weeks away.
Trump has railed against mail voting in recent months, arguing on Twitter that there is "NO WAY" that expanding the practice "will be anything less than substantially fraudulent."
Lone Star Politics
Covering politics throughout the state of Texas.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has opposed any expansion of voting by mail and commended the court for its decision Thursday.
“I applaud the Fifth Circuit for staying the federal court’s erroneous decision and preventing widespread mail-in balloting while the case proceeds. Allowing universal mail-in ballots, which are particularly vulnerable to fraud, would only lead to greater election fraud and disenfranchise lawful voters,” said Paxton. “The unanimous Fifth Circuit ruling puts a stop to this blatant violation of Texas law.”
But voting fraud is rare, and Twitter took the extraordinary step of attaching fact-checking notices that infuriated the president.
Last month, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that a lack of immunity to the coronavirus doesn't qualify someone to cast a ballot by mail. That ruling that has left Democrats to pine their hopes on the federal courts.
Both Republicans and Democrats have said they expect the fight to ultimately reach the U.S. Supreme Court.