The Texas Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a lack of coronavirus immunity alone does not allow voters qualify for mail-in voting.
The all-Republican court agreed with Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s interpretation of the state's voting laws in saying that fear of contracting the coronavirus does not equate a “disability” and therefore all self-identified able-bodied people living in the state must gather at a polling location.
“We agree with the State that a voter’s lack of immunity to COVID-19, without more, is not a ‘disability’ as defined by the Election Code,” the court wrote.
Per Texas election law, only people who are 65 years or older, disabled, living outside their county during the election period, or in jail are eligible for mail-in voting.
Texas election code defines a disability as a condition that would not allow a voter to gather at the polls without “injuring the voter’s health.” However, voters determine that on their own when filling out a mail-in ballot and are not obligated to specify what disability they are claiming.
The state also ruled that local election officials can distribute mail-in ballots to people who fear appearing at polls because they lack immunity to the virus.
The court also said that “a voter can take into consideration aspects of his health and his health history that are physical conditions in deciding whether, under the circumstances, to apply to vote by mail because of disability.”