ACLU joins lawsuit to allow Texans to vote by mail during pandemic

by | Apr 2, 2020 | Policy, Voting

The American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups announced Thursday that they have filed a motion to join a lawsuit fighting to allow Texans to safely vote by mail during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Texas Democrats filed the lawsuit in Travis County District Court last month seeking to temporarily extend the Texas Election Code definition of “disability” to all registered voters. In order to vote by mail in Texas, a registered voter must be 65 years or older, disabled or be out of the country. 

Now, other groups including the ACLU, ACLU of Texas, Worker’s Defense Project, and the Texas Civil Rights Project, are also joining onto the lawsuit.

“States all across the country are making vote by mail available because they know it is a common-sense solution to protect democracy and people’s well-being during this public health crisis,” Sophia Lin Lakin, deputy director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in a statement.

“In failing to issue guidance making clear that all Texans are eligible to vote by mail due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Texas is forcing a false choice between protecting public health and allowing Texans to exercise their right to vote,” Lakin continued. “Vote by mail for all eligible voters allows for both. Texas can and should make this common-sense solution explicit.”

Prior to filing the lawsuit, Texas Democrats said they attempted to work with Republicans on the impending issue. At the time, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said those negotiations with Republicans fell apart because Republicans “had no plan.”

The outbreak has already caused campaigns up and down the ballot to adapt to new social distancing requirements, including the cancelation of rallies and fundraising events. Last month, runoff election dates were pushed back several weeks to July 14, still firmly within the pandemic’s timeframe.

Photo: Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Digital First Media/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin via Getty Images

fernando@texassignal.com | + posts

Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at fernando@texassignal.com

Are you tired of Texas Republicans pushing big lies and trying to steal your vote? So are we, that’s why we’re fighting back against the right-wing lie machine. Our commitment to ethical, fact-based journalism is vital to our democracy, and we can’t do it without you. Consider donating today to help us stay in this fight.

Continue Reading

Will Texas get a new city built from scratch?

Will Texas get a new city built from scratch?

Former Walmart executive and billionaire Marc Lore has announced plans to build a sustainable, diverse, and equitable city from scratch, and its location might be in Texas.  Telosa, which derives its name from the Ancient Greek word for “highest purpose,” is an...

Federal judge grants Oct. 1 hearing on anti-abortion law

Federal judge grants Oct. 1 hearing on anti-abortion law

After the United States Department of Justice filed a preliminary injunction/restraining order against Texas in another attempt to halt Senate Bill 8, a federal judge granted the Biden administration a hearing on Oct. 1 to review temporarily banning the anti-abortion...