University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
Title "In re State of Texas"
Date Sep 5, 2020
Author The Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project
External Link
Abstract In Texas, voting by mail is only permitted if the voter qualifies under categories of (1) absence from county of residence, (2) disability, (3) over 65, (4) incarcerated, or (5) part of the address confidentiality program. Disability is defined as "sickness or physical condition that prevents the voter from appearing at the polling place on election day without a likelihood of needing personal assistance or of injuring the voter's health." There was separate litigation about whether COVID-19 is reason enough to request to vote by mail due to "disability." To obtain resolution prior to the July vote, the State filed for a writ of mandamus requesting that the court (a) determine that a voter's lack of immunity to COVID-19 and fear of contracting it at in-person voting do not constitute a "disability" that would permit the voter to request to vote by mail AND (b) compel early voting clerks for 5 counties to perform their statutory duty to review voters' applications to vote by mail and reject those that cite generalized fear of contracting COVID as a qualifying disability. As part of their request, the State asserted that voter fraud is tied to mail-in balloting and is a reason the court should support a narrow definition of "disability." The court did make a determination that fear of contracting and not having immunity to COVID-19 don't alone qualify as a disability, but didn't issue the writ.

This Resource Relates To
case (VR-TX-0455)

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