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Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick lashed out against attempts to expand vote-by-mail in the state amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, arguing people under 65 have no reason to be afraid to vote in person.
Patrick claimed Democrats would use the opportunity “greatest scam ever” to commit voter fraud and the expansion would lead to the destruction of the US.
Democrats and voting rights advocates have supported expanding voting by mail before November, as health experts warn of a potential second wave in the fall and winter.
A federal judge this week ruled Texas must allow anyone to vote by mail, though an appeals court temporarily blocked the ruling.
President Donald Trump has also rejected measures to increase voting by mail, threatening to withhold federal funds from states that had expanded their vote-by-mail programs.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Friday lashed out at efforts to expand voting-by-mail in the state, calling them a “scam” by Democrats to steal the November election.
“There is no reason — capital N, capital O — no reason that anyone under 65 should be able to say I am afraid to go vote,” Patrick said in an interview with Fox News.
“Have they been to a grocery store? Have they been to Walmart? Have they been to Lowe’s? Have they been to Home Depot? Have they been anywhere? Have they been afraid to go out of their house? This is a scam by the Democrats to steal the election,” he continued.
Any Texas resident over the age of 65 or with a disability is currently eligible to vote by mail, according to the Texas Tribune
Patrick claimed that an expansion of voting by mail would lead to the destruction of the country.
“There will be Democrat activists going out there to find people and say, ‘Hey, by the way, you got your ballot. Pay you 10 bucks. Can I handle it for you? This will destroy America if we allow it to happen,” he said.
As Business Insider previously reported, a federal judge on Tuesday ruled Texas must allow all voters to cast absentee ballots without an excuse in its upcoming elections, through an appeals court on Wednesday put that ruling on hold.
As The Texas Tribune noted, doctors and nurses who signed on to a brief to the state Supreme Court argued that in-person voting in created a “heightened danger” for transmission of the novel coronavirus.
“This idea that we want to give you a disability claim because I am afraid to go vote — if you are under 65 — is laughable,” Patrick said Friday. “You have more chance of being in a serious auto accident if you are under 65 on the way to vote than you do from catching the virus and dying from it on the way to voting. This is the greatest scam ever.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott began relaxing his stay-at-home order on May 1, despite a continued increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. As of Friday, at least 53,449 Texas have been infected by the novel coronavirus and at least 1,480 have died, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.
Democrats and voting rights advocacy groups like the ACLU have for months pushed for an expansion of vote-by-mail before. Health experts have simultaneously warned of a potentially more serious second-wave of COVID-19 that could impact the US in the fall and winter.
President Trump has opposed the measure over claims that an expansion of voting by mail would increase voter fraud. Earlier this week, he threatened to withhold federal funds from states that had expanded their vote-by-mail programs. As Business Insider’s Grace Panetta noted, the move could backfire as there is little evidence that expanded voting by mail or an increase in voter turnout would benefit Democrats over Republicans.
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