AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court in Austin ruled Wednesday afternoon that the risk of COVID-19 or coronavirus is not by itself a disability and therefore cannot be the basis of voting by mail.
The Texas Democratic Party, the Texas Attorney General and five Texas counties have been battling over the issue of mail-in ballots. The Democrats have pursued broader provisions for mail-in voting. The A.G. opposed them.
The court ruled in favor of the position taken by the A.G. but it was not complete victory. The high court refused to issue an order that would force counties to investigate whether or not disability claims are valid among those who wish to vote by mail.
“We agree with the State that a lack of immunity to COVID-19 is not itself a ‘physical
Condition’ that renders a voter eligible to vote by mail within the meaning of [state law],” the ruling said.
But it also said, “… While the State has alleged that the Clerks are accepting ‘improper application[s],’ there is no evidence in the record that any has accepted a faulty application. The Clerks have assured us that they will fully discharge their duty to follow the law.”
Notably, the opinion said, “The voter is not instructed to declare the nature of the underlying disability. The elected officials have placed in the hands of the voter the determination of whether in-person voting will cause a likelihood of injury due to a physical condition.”
You can read the opinion on the Texas Supreme Court website.
There is also a federal case pending on the issue.