By- Arnav Sharma
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Monday reinstated Texas’ voting laws, that required verification of signatures on mail-in ballots and rejection of those whose signatures did not match those on record with the election officials.
The move comes after a some voting rights groups, one of them being League of Women Voters of Texas, with the support of the Democratic Party, had filed a lawsuit last year, arguing that the verification procedure was discriminatory, and that there are voters whose ballots had been unfairly rejected in the past. According to their court filings, they alleged that more than 5,000 ballots were rejected for alleged mismatched signatures in the 2016 and 2018 elections combined. Judge Orlando Garcia, a Clinton appointee, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, on September 8th, sided with the plaintiff, and ruled that the procedure was ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘must be changed before the November Presidential Elections’. He called it a flawed practice, that denied Texans their Right to Vote. The same was appealed by the Texas Secretary of State, Ruth Hughs. A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit ‘strongly’ disapproved with the District Judge, and has temporarily stayed his injunction, while it hears the matter.
The 5th Circuit rejected the baseless and unsupported claims made by the plaintiff that the voting laws in question violated their Fourteenth Amendment. The court found it surprising, that while the sole constitutional provisions the District Court purported to interpret on merits, in the 103-page order, there was not even a single mention Fourteenth Amendment. Therefore, the 5th Circuit openly stated that it could not understand how the case could have proceeded when the main matter to be discussed was not filed or argued by the plaintiff and was not mentioned or heard by the court itself. Also, on tht, how the District Judge passed an order issuing an injunction on the same was ‘something the court (5th Circuit) couldn’t wrap their head around’.
The development comes with just 14 days left for the U.S. Presidential Elections. There have been widespread concerns of Election Rigging and Voter Fraud in this election. President Donald Trump, amongst many prominent Republican Congressmen and Senators have repeatedly said that the only thing that their biggest opponent is not Joe Biden, the Democratic Nominee, but Voter Fraud. A bipartisan commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter (Democrat), had in 2015 found that the biggest threat to America elections’ sovereignty and integrity are voter fraud through mail-in ballots. Also, MIT, in a study found that mail-in ballots have a failure rate of 22%, which is shocking and scary to say the least.
This is one of the reasons the SCOTUS had asked for all courts in the U.S. to not to change any voting laws in the eleventh hour, but the same is being done by courts throughout the country. This is why the 5th, 7th and even the 9th Circuit, one of the most powerful and most liberal/ left leaning bench in U.S., which has been flipped to a conservative leaning bench by President Trump, have been striking down District Court rulings that have at the very end moment changed voting laws at the eve of the elections, and which threaten the measures against voter fraud.