A Texas federal judge ruled on Tuesday that the state’s system of verifying signatures on mail-in ballots was unconstitutional and should be corrected immediately before Election Day in November.
Judge Orlando Garcia of the US District Court for the Western District of Texas ruled that a signature on the mail-in ballot matches the one required across the carrier-envelope flap to confirm the current process related to “plain voters.” Violates “constitutional rights. “
“In view of the fundamental importance of the right to vote, Texas’ current process of rejecting mail-in ballots due to alleged signature mismatch fails to guarantee basic fairness,” Garcia wrote, writing that the process “Support for voters is inherently error-free.”
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Two Texas voters, George Richardson of Brezos County and Rosalie Wesfeld of McAllen, joined organizations representing Texas, with disabilities, the elderly and young voters filing a lawsuit a year ago arguing that the way The law allows local election officials to reject mail-ins. Ballots based on mismatched signatures violate the 14th Amendment.
Although early voting election officials can compare signatures on file with the county clerk or voter registrar within the past six years, the current process did not provide voters whose ballots could be rejected due to possible signatures “Verify that “Identity, displays that he or she has actually signed related documents, or otherwise challenges a signature verification determination. “Garcia, who was nominated by President Bill Clinton, decided that the state’s process was creating a” serious “burden on voters and failed to deliver” meaningful pre-rejection notices “.
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“To protect the rights of voters in the upcoming November 2020 elections,” Garcia ruled, informing the Texas Secretary of State about the new requirements to issue a mail to all local election officials within 10 days of their decision Should issue an advisory. Ballot based on an alleged signature mismatch during the current election cycle.
Voters whose signatures are mismatched should send a notice of the Election Board’s determination within one day, and contact the voter in the event that the voter believes his or her ballot was improperly rejected. The ballot must be confirmed. Election officer, Garcia ruled, via phone or mail.
If a phone number was included on the voter’s original ballot, an election officer must make at least one phone call within a day to notify the voter that his or her ballot is pending based on an alleged signature mismatch.
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Voters in Texas have the opportunity to vote by mail, who are out of their place of residence during elections, disabled voters, voters 65 years of age or older, and some voters jailed, but otherwise without a vote. Are eligible for. rule.