Courts Rule on Mail-In Ballot Rules

As the election approaches, state and circuit courts address concerns about mail-in ballots. What’s happening?


A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled yesterday against the Trump campaign in a lawsuit which sought to ban ballot drop boxes in the state. In Texas, a federal appeals court blocked a law which would allow the governor to limit counties to a single drop-off site for absentee ballots.

  • Three weeks before election day, these contentious rulings will have an impact on mail-in voting, which has been the focus of conspiracy theories and anxiety from both parties.
  • The Pennsylvania ruling refuted claims by the Trump campaign that mail-in ballots would lead to voter fraud, finding that the inclusion of more ballot boxes is constitutional since the election regulations further state interests without burdening the right to vote.
  • The Texas ruling, which occurred on Friday, means that voters will not be limited to one ballot drop-off location per county, said that doing so would place an undue burden on older and disabled citizens trying to exercise their constitutional right to vote. On Saturday, however, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a temporary stay while the case was appealed. This means that the drop boxes will still be limited to one per county until the case is decided in appeals court.
  • Despite the ruling, most Texans still are not eligible to vote by mail; to qualify, voters must be over 65 or have a qualified medical restriction.
  • In general, Democrats see the issue of mail-in voting as a potential mechanism for voter suppression, while Republicans see it as a potential mechanism for voter fraud.
  • Other issues have arisen as the election looms, as states face staffing issues for polling stations and confusion about proper ballot protocols.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • Frames the rulings as a major win for the GOP which can and probably will have an impact on the outcome of the election.
  • Reports on other attempts to sway voter outcomes and turnout in American history, like gerrymandering and lobbying.
  • Points out that Donald Trump and GOP claims that mail-in voting is tied to voter fraud are baseless.



  • Covers legal challenges mounted by both parties in the battle over mail-in voting.
  • Frames the Pennsylvania ruling as a loss for the Trump administration, and the Texas ruling as a win.
  • Continues to preach the dangers of voter fraud.


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© Evelyn Torsher, 2020