If you’ve been following the lawsuits on vote-by-mail in Texas, you know it’s changing almost every day. The Texas Supreme Court ruled last month that lack of immunity to coronavirus does not qualify a voter for an absentee ballot under the disability clause. They also stated, “the State acknowledges that election officials have no responsibility to question or investigate a ballot application that is valid on its face. The decision to apply to vote by mail based on a disability is the voter’s, subject to a correct understanding of the statutory definition of ‘disability.’”1
So what does this mean for you?
We're not lawyers and this isn't legal advice, but we want to make sure you know some general information. You are the only one who can determine if your health conditions would make it dangerous for you to vote in person in the upcoming primary runoff in July. Election officials cannot deny this request or ask you to state your disability.
Safely voting in person
If you determine you are a healthy individual, consider voting early to reduce the number of people congregating at the polls on election day. Make a voting plan, so that you can spend as little time in the ballot box as possible. And, continue to follow safe health practices: Wear a mask, maintain 6 feet of distance from others and bring hand sanitizer.
Key dates to know:
June 15: Last Day to Register to Vote
July 2: Last Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail
June 29 - July 10: Early voting period
July 14: Election Day
TexPIRG is continuing to fight for your right to vote safely.
TexPIRG is working to ensure that Texas has resilient election systems by ensuring counties are preparing safe polling locations and convincing state leaders and the public that voting by mail is safe, non-partisan, and good for public health.
Nobody should have to choose between their health and their right to vote. We hope these resources can help you vote safely in this election.
1. “In re State of Texas,” SCOTXblog, last accessed June 11, 2020.