University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
Title "Semien v. Hughs"
Date Sep 1, 2020
Author The Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project
External Link
Abstract Plaintiffs, Texas voters with disabilities and organizations that represent those individuals, bring claims under Title II of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 against the Texas Secretary of State for failing to provide them means of voting secretly and independently and otherwise denying them equal access to mail in ballots, preventing them from voting safely due to COVID-19. They seek preliminary and injunctive relief preventing Defendant from violating these statutory provisions and requiring a remote accessible vote by mail system as well as declaratory relief. Plaintiffs challenge the fact that vote by mail ballots must be filled out and returned by voters entirely on paper which prevents the blind and other voters from using them without help, thus violating the right to cast a private vote. Instead plaintiffs claim that defendant should allow county election officials to provide accessible electronic ballots for these individuals as already provided to overseas voters. These difficulties are exacerbated by the fact that blind individuals are unable to determine on their own whether others at polling places are complying with safety measures like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

This Resource Relates To
case (VR-TX-0457)

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