Washington, DC — Today, the Texas Democratic Party petitioned the United States Supreme Court to provide all Texans a fair and equal right to vote. Texas law currently allows voters who will be 65 or older on Election Day to vote by mail, while forcing nearly everyone else to go in person to their polling place and risk exposing themselves to COVID-19 in order to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
At issue in this case, Garcia v. Abbott, is whether Texas’ strict limits on who is eligible to vote by mail constitute age discrimination under the 26th Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Constitution bars discrimination in voting based on age, sex, and race.
The three individual plaintiffs on this case are individuals who will not yet be 65 by Election Day but would otherwise apply to vote by mail.
Specifically, plaintiffs are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to:
- Immediately lift the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ stay, which would leave Judge Fred Biery’s opinion in place that allows any Texan “who seek[s] to vote by mail to avoid transmission of the [COVID-19] virus” to vote by mail.
- Grant certiorari and agree to hear the case in the fall on the merits of the claim that Texas’ vote-by-mail restrictions violate the 26th Amendment.
Texas Democrats have been fighting the state’s Republican administration to ensure all Texans have an equal right to vote for decades. They began this battle to provide all Texans the option to vote by mail at the start of this pandemic when voters started demanding to vote by mail to avoid the risks of going to their polling places amid this public health crisis.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:
“We started this case promising Texas voters that we’d never stop fighting for their right to vote. Today, we are continuing our promise by petitioning the United States Supreme Court to provide all Texans their free, fair, and equal right to vote.
“There’s no logical reason for those whose 65th birthday is the day after Election Day to have to go to the polling place in person while their 65-year-old spouse can vote a mail ballot — especially during the worst pandemic in a century.
“Let’s make no mistake about why we’re back at the Supreme Court again. Texas Republicans are hell-bent on discriminating against and blocking Texas’ new diverse majority from casting their ballot. We have not — and never will — stand by as Republicans discriminate against hard-working Texans trying to cast their ballot.
“We are proud to bring this case to the Supreme Court to make voting easier and more equal for all Texans.”