May 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Texas appeals court temporarily blocks mail-in voting for all ruling

Vote-by-mail ballot processing. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Wednesday temporarily halted a lower court judge's ruling to expand voting by mail in Texas to all 16 million state voters in the July elections.

Details: The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Texas' Republican attorney general on Wednesday to block a federal judge's ruling a day earlier that all registered voters in the state should have the option of mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Meanwhile, the Texas Supreme Court is hearing a separate case brought by the state attorney general on whether to limit absentee voting, the Texas Tribune notes.
  • Texas only permits mail-in voting for seniors and those with health conditions unable to cast ballots in person.

The big picture: Many states have placed an increased emphasis on access to early voting this year as part of efforts to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

  • The Republican Party, President Trump and his re-election campaign have largely sought to push back against attempts to expand mail-in voting.
  • Experts have found all forms of voting fraud are rare in the U.S., but "the mail voting system is more vulnerable to fraud than voting in person," the New York Times notes.

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Poll shows Biden within a point of Trump in Texas

Photos: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images; Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump and Joe Biden are in a tight race in Texas, with the former vice president trailing by just a point, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday.

Why it matters: Changing demographics in the state have made it a key target for Democrats in future presidential cycles, forcing the GOP to weigh how it can be more inclusive and keep its hold on the Lone Star State and its 38 electoral votes.

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As controversies around online speech rage against a backdrop of racial tension, presidential provocation and a pandemic, a handful of companies, lawmakers and advocacy groups have continued to promote a backlash against Big Tech.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Google got a reputational boost at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, but that respite from criticism proved brief. They're now once again walking a minefield of regulatory investigations, public criticism and legislative threats over antitrust concerns, content moderation and privacy concerns.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After being told for months to stay away from others, the idea of being shoulder to shoulder again in a bus or subway terrifies many people, requiring sweeping changes to public transit systems for the COVID-19 era.

Why it matters: Cities can't come close to resuming normal economic activity until large numbers of people feel comfortable using public transportation.