AUSTIN (KXAN) — The chief executive officer of the popular Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B, Charles Butt, advocated for mail-in voting in a letter sent to the Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday.
In the letter, which was first reported by Quorum Report, Butt expressed his support for an effort by Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins to send mail-in voting applications to every registered voter in the county. The Texas Supreme Court temporarily blocked the plan on Wednesday following a lawsuit by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
“Texas requires an excuse to vote absentee but, as your Court has recently held, does not permit election officials to second-guess a voter’s exercise of that option,” Butt said in the letter. “Thus, Clerk Hollins’s effort to make absentee ballots widely available trusts voters, protecting those who are vulnerable from unnecessary exposure in this new Covid world in which we’re living.”
In order to request a mail-in ballot, a voter must meet one of several qualifications in Texas — be over the age of 65, disabled, out of their county of residence on election day, or be confined to jail.
Hollins told KXAN that safeguards are in place to ensure that only qualified voters can receive a mail-in ballot and the initiative in Harris County is meant to reach those who qualify.
The Texas Supreme Court ruled against a Texas Democratic Party request in May that would have allowed all registered voters to vote by mail due to lack of immunity to COVID-19. The Court also noted that it is up to voters, not elected officials, to determine whether or not they are qualified for a mail-in ballot.
Mail-in ballot requests must be received by Friday, Oct. 23 in order to vote by mail in Texas for the November election.