Pandemic hasn’t sparked changes to mail-in ballot rules

Posted 5/5/20

The spread of COVID-19 has changed the look of many aspects of life.

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Pandemic hasn’t sparked changes to mail-in ballot rules

Posted

The spread of COVID-19 has changed the look of many aspects of life.

But it may not change everything. Like voting in person.

Six Texas voters between the ages of 18 and 28 filed a suit on April 29 for their right to vote by mail. But, as of Tuesday, there have been no changes to the state’s mail-in voting policy. According to the Texas Tribune, the suits claim the state’s election code violates the 26th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In order to qualify to vote by mail in Texas, a citizen must meet one of the following requirements: be 65 years of age or older, be disabled, be out of the country on election day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance or be confined in jail (but otherwise eligible).

“As of right now, the Secretary of State has not changed any of that,” said Madison County Election Administrator Janet Boone. “All those rules still stand. The same rules will apply for mail-in ballots, you have to be 65 or older or you have to be disabled or have some other health reason that keeps you from coming to the poles and voting.”

The biggest change in the Madison County voting process itself remains the actual date of the run-off election for sheriff between Billy J. Reeves and Bobby Adams, who finished atop the four-way race March 10.

The run-off election was originally scheduled to take place May 26 but was moved back to July 14 in response to COVID-19.

“We will be instituting safer voting practices as far as hand sanitizing stations and social distancing and things like that,” said Boone. “There are still some things in the works that we are looking at to protect voters and the workers.”

Early voting for the run-off election will take place at the Madison County Courthouse July 6-10.

Boone mentioned the possibility of further alterations to the process, such as longer voting hours, if the Secretary of State makes the decision.

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