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Texas Matters: Voting By Mail, How To Save The Post Office And Nonprofits Max Out

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lllustration by Kathleen Creedon

This week a Texas judge said he will confirm that voters fearful of contracting COVID-19 should be allowed to use mail-in ballots during elections in July and November.  

This counters what Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton annou0nced in a press release which claimed fear of contracting the coronavirus should not allow Texans to apply to vote by mail.  

If the Travis County district court judge's order is upheld, Paxton will be overruled and all of the state's approximately 16 million registered voters would be eligible to apply for an absentee ballot.

Texas has one of the toughest vote-by-mail programs in the country.

Only people over 65, people who are in jail and not convicted, people who will be out of the county, and people who are sick or disabled can get a mail-in ballot.

President Trump has said he opposes expansions in mail-in voting.  Trump and his supporters are spreading misinformation about mail in voting. The Brennan Center for Justice is touting mail-in voting this election cycle as necessary to protect the public and poll workers from the spread of coronavirus.

Myrna Perez is the director of the voting rights and elections program at the Brennan Center of Justice at NYU School of Law. They are giving mail-in voting their stamp of approval.

Save The Post Office

Without a fully functioning post office system – it will be difficult at best to have a mail-in ballot election.

And the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the United States has plunged the U.S. Postal Service into dire financial straits, as more Americans than ever rely on post offices to deliver necessary medicine and supplies, especially in underserved rural areas. 

But the Washington Post has reported that President Donald Trump is opposed to any measures to help the Post Office and refused to sign the CARES Act stimulus package if it included a bailout for the agency.

John McHugh is the director of a group that is calling for support of the post office. They are named the Package Coalition.  He says if the post office stops functioning  rural areas hardest hit.

Social Nonprofits Max Out

Charitable organizations are a critical part of the social safety net in the United States, providing food, shelter and cash assistance to vulnerable people who fall through gaps… and in the time of COVID-19 those gaps are growing larger every day.

There is an unprecedented demand for their services and social service nonprofits are struggling to keep up.  

Jaimi Dowdell is a Reuters reporter and took a deep look at how non-profits are trying to keep up.

David Martin Davies can be reached at DMDavies@TPR.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi