Six Texas voters, supported by the National Redistricting Foundation, filed a lawsuit in Texas Wednesday, challenging the state’s Absentee Ballot Age Restriction and arguing the restriction is unconstitutional, especially given the current threat of COVID-19.
The Absentee Ballot Age Restriction prohibits any voter in Texas under the age of 65 from requesting and casting their ballot by mail in the state’s elections, “unless they will be absent from the county where they are registered to vote for the entirety of Election Day, are confined in jail but otherwise eligible to vote, have a sickness or physical condition preventing them from appearing to vote in person … or are expected or likely confined for childbirth.” The plaintiffs argue the decision to limit voting rights on account of age is prohibited by the Twenty-sixth Amendment.
The voters also cite COVID-19 as a serious threat to their health and the health of their loved ones that must now be considered when deciding to participate in in-person voting. The plaintiffs contend enforcing the Absentee Ballot Age Restriction will exacerbate the current public health crisis. The pandemic has caused the Texas governor to issue a proclamation urging people to implement social distancing. The plaintiffs contend even when the proclamation is lifted, Americans are still expected to social distance themselves for many more months. Therefore, requiring Texans to vote in person will increase the risk of contracting the virus.
The voters ask that the court reject Absentee Ballot Age Restriction, allowing otherwise qualified Texas voters under the age of 65 to cast their ballot by mail in the state’s elections.
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