The ACLU of Texas, ACLU Voting Rights Project, and Texas Civil Rights Project joined a lawsuit seeking to declare that, under Texas law, all registered voters qualify to request a mail-in ballot as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis. 
 
The lawsuit argues that due to the COVID-19 pandemic individuals cannot physically appear at a polling place on Election Day without a risk to their health. It also states that in order to prevent disenfranchisement during this public health crisis, the court should declare that the Texas Election Code's definition of “disability” in the vote-by-mail provision — one of the reasons for eligibility to vote-by-mail in Texas — currently encompasses all registered voters. 

The plaintiffs in this filing include the League of Women Voters of Texas, MOVE Texas, League of Women Voters of Austin Area, Workers Defense Action Fund, and University of Texas student Zach Price.

Update 4/15/20: After a hearing in which the court heard testimony concerning COVID-19 and arguments from both sides, the court sided with plaintiffs and granted a temporary order ruling that all Texans may vote by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the July elections. The court scheduled another hearing later in the summer to determine what happens after the July elections. The state has appealed the district court ruling, and the appeal is ongoing. To learn more about your ability to vote by mail, contact your local county elections administrator.

Date filed

April 2, 2020

Court

State District Court, Travis County

Status

On appeal

Case number

D-1-GN-20-001610