The same dance happens every four years as Democrats try to expand the electorate and make voting easier and Republicans try to curtail ballot access and suggest fraud. COVID-19 has increased the stakes in 2020.
Texas allows voters 65 and older to vote-by-mail with no excuse needed. Voters younger than 65 must prove they are unable to vote in-person to qualify. The Democrats said this violates 26th Amendment, which protects voters from age-based discrimination. Generally, younger voters support Democrats and older voters cast ballots for the GOP.
Republicans fought back with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals agreeing that “adding a benefit” is not the same as abridging access to the vote. This dangerous precedent could mean states could add all kinds of benefits for certain classes of voters — even by race. The Democrats correctly questioned: could a law stand that automatically sent ballots in the mail to all white voters — that’s adding a benefit, but not infringing on other voters’ options? The case will eventually end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, but not before November’s election.