UPDATE: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has temporarily blocked a decision by Federal Judge Fred Biery in San Antonio which would have greatly expanded voting by mail. His decision would allow anyone to request a mail-in ballot if they believe they could contract COVID-19 by going to the polls.
“I applaud the Fifth Circuit for issuing this temporary stay while the case proceeds. Protecting the integrity of elections is one of my top priorities, and allowing universal mail-in ballots would only lead to greater fraud and disenfranchise lawful voters,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Law established by the Legislature must be followed consistently, including carefully limiting who may and may not vote by mail.”
Read a copy of the order here.
SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Attorney General Ken Paxton Wednesday filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, opposing a ruling by Federal Judge Fred Biery in San Antonio that allows anyone to vote by mail during the coronavirus pandemic if they fear contracting the virus by going to the polls.
“Mail-in ballots are vulnerable to fraud,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Two-thirds of all election fraud cases prosecuted by my office involve mail ballot fraud, also known as ‘vote harvesting.’ Allowing widespread mail-in ballots will lead to greater fraud and disenfranchise lawful voters.”
Governor Abbott already has made a temporary order expanding the early voting period for the July elections. In addition, Paxton says local election officials have many other mechanisms available to them to ensure safe and fair elections, including sanitizing voting machines and areas and implementing social distancing.
In his ruling Tuesday, Judge Biery said, “The Grim Reaper’s scepter of pandemic disease and death is far more serious than an unsupported fear of voter fraud.”