Posted on September 10, 2020 8:00 pm


A federal appeals court in Texas ruled Thursday that the state can keep its eligibility rules for mail-in voting.

The ruling by the three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejects efforts by the Texas Democratic Party to expand eligibility for mail-in balloting to all registered voters. They argue the state’s age restrictions for such voting violate the 26th Amendment’s protections against voting rules that discriminate based on age.

The panel found that “conferring a privilege” to some voters – in this case the option of voting by mail to voters 65 and older –does not alone violate the 26th Amendment, according to the Texas Tribune.

Texas allows all voters 65 or older to automatically qualify for a mail-in ballot. Younger voters can qualify if they will be out of the county during the election period, are in jail but otherwise eligible, or if they cite a disability or illness that makes a trip to the polls a risky endeavor, the newspaper also reports.

Requirements and safeguards for large-scale mail-in balloting as a result of the coronavirus are major concerns in the U.S., amid the competing challenges of protecting against voter fraud and providing access to eligible voters. 

The Texas case appears headed again to the Supreme Court, which has already rejected a bid by the state Democratic party to fast-track its consideration of the case before the November elections. However, it’s unclear whether the matter will be resolved in time to expand mail-in voting by Nov. 3.