Limited Options for Texas Voters

By Rhyann Sampson

The USPS crisis, combined with Texas' strict mail-in voting requirements, are leaving many Texan voters without options for voting in the upcoming presidential election.

The United States Postal Service has had ongoing issues over the last months stemming from a lack of financial stability, which has resulted in a mass delay of mail delivery across 46 states. According to an article by Vox, "The self-funded Postal Service has been seeking billions in aid from Congress -- an effort that's been stymied by President Trump, who has long had a contentious relationship with the USPS and has pushed to privatize it."

While the mail stress is currently affecting the United States as a whole, Texas residents are in a bigger predicament with the intersecting dilemmas of COVID-19, USPS and voting.

"Trying to vote with all of this going on is about to be a complete mess. I don't want to have to worry about getting Corona while trying to vote," said Irving, Texas, resident, Keith Franklin.

Texas is in a unique situation because the requirements to vote by mail are very specific and would exclude a large population of residents. To be eligible for a mail-in ballot, the resident must meet one of the following: be over 65 years old, disabled, out of the country or in jail.

These requirements are not new to the state's voting process, however in the midst of COVID-19, the limited option is disliked by many.

"You'd think that our government would care a little bit more about our safety and let more people send in their votes by mail, but I guess not," said Denton, Texas, resident Megan Bowser.

The state has also decided that personal fears of getting COVID-19 is not a viable form of exemption from in-person voting. Texas' approach to this situation is not a favorable decision compared to other states. According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, "34 states allowed for anyone to use mail-in ballots. Of the remaining 16, all but Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana have made exceptions to expand vote by mail in 2020 elections because of the pandemic."

Even if some Texas residents are eligible to vote by mail, the USPS mail crisis builds another cause for concern.

The deadline for mail-in ballots may overlap with the speed at which the postal service delivers the vote due to its slowed distribution of mail. USPS recommended that Texans who are voting by mail send in their ballots 15 days prior to the due date. However, some are not convinced that their vote will be processed in time.

"I'm 73 years old so thankfully I'm going to be voting by mail. I just hope my vote, or my husband's vote doesn't get lost or take too long to deliver," said Roanoke, Texas, resident N.J Pyles.

The mail crisis in combination of COVID-19 is showing no signs of easing, leaving Texas residents doubtful of voting both in person and by mail. With few options for the state's voters, it is likely the situation will affect the polls.

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