AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Saying that voting is “wrought with uncertainty” this year regardless because of the coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge Wednesday allowed Texas to proceed with banning straight-ticket voting this November, dismissing a lawsuit brought by Democrats.
Most states don’t offer straight-ticket voting, which allows voters to simply choose a party’s entire slate of candidates at a stroke.
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law in 2017 to scrap straight-ticket voting starting this fall. But in March, on the heels of long lines snaking outside Texas polling stations during the Super Tuesday primaries, Democrats argued that forcing voters to individually select every race would create even longer wait times.
That would disproportionately impact Black and Latino community in big urban counties, the Texas Democratic Party argued, because ballots are already longer in those places.
U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo ruled that Democrats lacked standing to bring the suit but said that, regardless, “many Texans will endure longer lines at polling-places indefinitely" this year because of the pandemic.
“All things considered, in-person voting at polling-places is wrought with uncertainty," Garcia Marmolejo wrote.
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the lawsuit was based on hypotheticals and cheered the decision.