Texas Supreme Court rules against Houston mail voting plan

By Tom Hals (Reuters) - The Texas Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that voters in Houston cannot receive unsolicited mail-in ballots for November's presidential election, thwarting an effort to expand voting in the third-largest county in the United States. The court sided with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's contention that the state's election law did not authorize a plan by Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins to mail ballot applications to the county's 2.4 million registered voters. The Supreme Court sent the case back to a lower court, which it directed to issue an injunction to prohibit Hollins from sending ballot applications to all registered voters.

Reuters October 08, 2020 00:13:17 IST
Texas Supreme Court rules against Houston mail voting plan

Texas Supreme Court rules against Houston mail voting plan

By Tom Hals

(Reuters) - The Texas Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that voters in Houston cannot receive unsolicited mail-in ballots for November's presidential election, thwarting an effort to expand voting in the third-largest county in the United States.

The court sided with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's contention that the state's election law did not authorize a plan by Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins to mail ballot applications to the county's 2.4 million registered voters.

The Supreme Court sent the case back to a lower court, which it directed to issue an injunction to prohibit Hollins from sending ballot applications to all registered voters.

The clerk's office did not respond to a request for comment.

Hollins said in August he would mail applications to every registered voter in Harris County to help them decide if they are eligible to vote by mail in the Nov. 3 presidential election. Texas law authorizes mail voting for certain groups such as those with disabilities and voters over 65.

"Mass-mailing unsolicited ballot applications to voters ineligible to vote by mail cannot be said to be necessary or indispensable to the conduct of early voting," the Supreme Court said.

Voting access has become a flash point in the upcoming election. Some election officials have sought to expand mail ballots to encourage voting without the need to visit polling places amid the pandemic, but that has been often challenged by Republicans.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ensured that a restrictive Republican-backed law in South Carolina that requires voters to have a witness sign mail-in ballots will be in place for the election.

President Donald Trump, a Republican who trails his Democrat challenger, Joe Biden, has attacked the integrity of mail-in voting.

Trump has made unsubstantiated claims that mail-in ballots are especially vulnerable to fraud and "rig" the election.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by David Gregorio and Steve Orlofsky)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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