Republicans Follow Trump’s Lead and Restrict Voting by Mail
May 15, 2020
While the vast majority of Americans expect coronavirus to impact this November’s election and even more support expanding vote-by-mail, Republicans across the country are following Trump’s lead and prohibiting voters afraid of the coronavirus from safely voting by mail.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson claimed that voting safely was a “political issue,” while Solicitor General John Sauer argued that voters should be willing to risk contracting diseases to vote.
PARSON: “The absentee ballot is more of a political issue than it is anything. This is a Democrat-Republican issue.”
Courthouse News: “Sauer contended the suit argued for ‘unfettered’ absentee voting. He said the incapacity clause was never meant to allow for absentee voting because of fear of contracting an illness and added that there is a risk of contracting an illness in any election, citing past outbreaks of SARS and Ebola.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened criminal charges for people who encourage others to apply for absentee ballots over coronavirus fears, despite being told by two courts to expand vote-by-mail.
Texas Tribune: “A state appeals court on Thursday upheld a temporary order from a state district judge that could greatly expand the number of voters who qualify for mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic, rebuffing Attorney General Ken Paxton’s effort to have the ruling put on hold while he appeals it.”
Texas Tribune: “In their complaint, Scudder and Lervisit say that through his statements, Paxton knowingly lied to election officials, misled voters about their eligibility to cast mail-in ballots and disseminated fear.”
Republican state officials in Tennessee said fear of catching the coronavirus should not qualify voters to get an absentee ballot.
Associated Press: “Fear of contracting the coronavirus doesn’t meet medical criteria for voting by mail in Tennessee, state officials said Tuesday.”
Williamson Herald: “Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said during his COVID-19 briefing Tuesday he will not allow voters to mail in their ballots due to fear of contracting the coronavirus.”
The Republican-led Louisiana legislature removed fear of the coronavirus from a list of reasons to vote by mail.
The Advocate: “An emergency plan for Louisiana’s delayed spring elections was approved by the state Legislature after Republican lawmakers rolled back an expansion of mail-in ballots for people concerned about the coronavirus.”