Attorney General Ken Paxton today commended the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for granting an emergency stay defending critical anti-fraud provisions in the Texas Election Code and halting a district court’s order demanding the Texas Secretary of State issue a series of unlawful advisories directing local election officials not to enforce Texas law. The laws at issue are longstanding common-sense measures that ensure that the voter who submits a mail-in ballot is the same person who applied to vote by mail, thereby preventing the unauthorized and fraudulent use of mail-in ballots. 

“I thank the Fifth Circuit for granting this stay and halting the district court’s unlawful order. State election law, as written by the Texas Legislature, must be followed consistently and correctly in order to protect the integrity of our elections and prevent fraud. The district court’s order blatantly violates state law and will do nothing but sow confusion and chaos,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Protecting the integrity and security of elections is one of my top priorities. The unlawful order to violate Texas election law cannot stand.” 

To prevent fraud, Texas election law generally requires all voters to vote by personal appearance at a polling place, with specific protections for distinct groups, such as the elderly or disabled, to cast their ballots by mail. Texans who wish to vote by mail must first submit an application for a mail-in ballot. If the application is approved, the voter must then mail the completed ballot along with a certificate signed by the voter certifying that the ballot is their own. Local officials are required to verify that the ballot was lawfully submitted by the voter by comparing signatures on the ballot and certificate and notify the voter if the ballot is not accepted. 

Read a copy of today’s order here.