March 25, 2020/Media, Press

ICYMI: Austin-American Statesman – Texas Needs to Expand Vote-By-Mail Access

Austin, TX —  The Statesman Editorial Board is echoing the growing sentiment in Texas and across the country to expand the ability to vote-by-mail in the wake of the coronavirus writing, “Texas is woefully behind the curve in providing broader vote-by-mail access that could have kept our elections functioning normally in these extraordinary times.”

Shoring up the ability of voters to have access to vote-by-mail and ensure the safety of public health are the grounds for a lawsuit filed by the Texas Democratic Party against the State of Texas last week.

More from the Statesman:

  • “The Texas Democratic Party last week sued the secretary of state and Travis elections officials, seeking vote-by-mail access for all voters in the runoff elections.”

  • “Texas has one of the nation’s stingiest policies on absentee ballots, allowing them only for seniors, disabled people and those in jail or traveling out of town on election day.

  • “By contrast, 28 states allow any registered voter to request an absentee ballot for any reason, and five states conduct their elections entirely by mail-in ballots. Not surprisingly, the states allowing no-excuse absentee ballots saw voter participation in 2016 that was, on average, 10 percentage points higher than in other states like Texas.”

  • “Unfortunately, Abbott has resisted efforts to make absentee voting more available. In 2017, he vetoed a bill by state Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, that would have allowed small communities to conduct runoff elections exclusively with mail-in ballots. Abbott squandered an opportunity for elections officials to scale up absentee voting in a secure, efficient way that could have helped many Texans now.”

  • “The courts will decide what’s necessary for the July runoff. But it’s clear officials need to be working now on the logistics to ensure the general election in November remains accessible to voters, without delay, whatever the coming months may bring.”