Texas Democrats appeal absentee voting decision to U.S. Supreme Court

On June 16, the Democratic Party of Texas appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court an appellate court order staying a district court decision that had extended absentee voting eligibility in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

On May 19, Judge Samuel Frederick Biery of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas ordered that all eligible Texas voters be allowed to cast absentee ballots in order to avoid transmission of the coronavirus. The state appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. On June 4, a three-judge panel of the appeals court stayed the district court decision, allowing election officials to enforce state laws limiting absentee voting to those meeting specified eligibility criteria.

In its appeal to the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs presented the following question: “Does Texas’s limitation of the right to cast a no-excuse mail-in ballot to only voters who are ’65 years of age or older on election day,’ Tex. Election Code § 82.003, violate the Twenty-Sixth Amendment’s directive that the right to vote ‘shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age’?”