April 15, 2020

AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas court has ruled that all registered voters qualify for a mail-in ballot as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis. The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Texas, and Texas Civil Rights Project were in court today asking the judge to grant the request. Judge Tim Sulak ruled from the bench a short time ago.

The following reaction is from:

Sophia Lin Lakin, deputy director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said: “The court recognized the gravity of not allowing all eligible voters to have a mail-in option during the pandemic. It is a common-sense solution to protect democracy and people’s well-being during this public health crisis.”

Thomas Buser-Clancy, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas, who presented oral argument, said: “We are grateful for the judge’s decision issuing a temporary order that permits all Texans to vote by mail based on the COVID-19 pandemic. As our local and state leaders work with public health experts to handle the COVID-19 crisis, we are appreciative of this step forward in clarifying the law in a manner that will permit all Texans to exercise their fundamental right to vote during this extreme time without jeopardizing their health.”

Joaquin Gonzalez, staff attorney in the Voting Rights Program at the Texas Civil Rights Project, who also presented oral argument, said: “Common sense and the spirit of the law won over the attorney general’s inexplicable stance that voters’ susceptibility to COVID-19 isn’t a physical condition under the law today. There’s more work to do to protect our democracy through the pandemic, but we’re pleased counties now have more clarity to prepare for upcoming elections.”

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.

Case details: https://www.aclu.org/cases/texas-democratic-party-v-debeauvoir

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