Supreme Court SHOCKER: 9-0 Ruling Rocks Election

The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to review Texas voting rules that allow older voters to automatically receive mail-in ballots, a policy not extended to younger voters. This decision aligns with the Court’s previous refusal to entertain a similar challenge to Indiana’s laws and further dismissals of related Texas lawsuits filed by the Texas Democratic Party during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legal argument brought forward by three Texas voters was based on the 26th Amendment, ratified in 1971 to lower the voting age to 18, which prohibits age-based voting discrimination. They argued that any voting privileges extended to voters aged 65 and over should equally apply to younger voters. However, their appeal to reverse a lower court’s decision, which upheld Texas’ laws as constitutional, was unsuccessful. The lower court had ruled that facilitating voting for one group does not necessarily suppress the voting ability of another.

Furthermore, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans held that the right to vote, as defined when the 26th Amendment was enacted, did not inherently include the right to vote by mail. This stance was supported by Texas’ argument that its mail-in voting policies aim to protect voting integrity while accommodating older voters who might face challenges voting in person.

While most states allow any resident to request an absentee ballot, Texas maintains stricter controls to reduce the risk of voter fraud, despite about one-third of votes in the 2022 midterm elections being cast by mail.

The challengers highlighted numerous obstacles faced by younger voters, such as transportation issues, long lines, inaccessible polling locations, and limited time off work, which make in-person voting challenging.

This decision comes amidst broader national debates on mail-in voting regulations, including a significant ruling by the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals affecting Pennsylvania. This court overturned a lower court’s order, siding with the Republican National Committee (RNC) on the necessity of signature verification for mail-in ballots. The decision was celebrated by the RNC as a victory for election integrity, emphasizing the importance of dated signatures on mail ballots and reinforcing the exclusion of undated or incorrectly dated mail ballots from counting, underlining the application of the Civil Rights Act’s Materiality Provision.

This ruling, deemed a critical win for election safeguards, particularly in swing states like Pennsylvania, continues to shape the legal landscape as the country approaches the presidential election.