SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Bexar County Commissioners have jumped into the fray over expanding the mail-in ballot process amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They have unanimously approved a resolution supporting the expansion of voting by mail.
Texans who fear contracting the novel coronavirus by voting in person at the polls have been requesting mail-in ballots.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says the fear of getting sick shouldn’t qualify people to vote by mail, but a Texas appeals court disagreed with him Thursday, and several lawsuits are pending. Paxton has asked the Texas Supreme Court to weigh in.
County commissioners got a legal opinion from Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales before voting on the non-binding resolution Thursday.
“We believe that the lack of immunity is a physical condition under this definition that would qualify as a disability,” Gonzales said.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff says there’s also a risk to those working the polls on election day. He says the average age of election judges is 72, which puts them at high risk for contracting COVID-19. The election judges greet voters and guide them through the registration and voting process on election day.
Kevin Wolff, the only Republican on commissioners court, says those who have wanted to expand voting by mail are using the pandemic as an excuse, but that’s not why he supported the resolution.
“I’m making my decision because philosophically, I believe in expanding the ability of people to vote,” said Kevin Wolff. “If I can expand the option of vote by mail, I don’t really give a damn whether they’re qualifying themselves as disabled or not. I care that it’s a clean process.”
The next time local voters go to the polls will be July 14 for the Democratic and Republican runoff elections.