Texas Appeals Court Allows Expansion of Voting by Mail

As the Texas Tribune reported on May 14, “A state appeals court upheld a temporary order from a state district judge that could greatly expand the number of voters who qualify for mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic, rebuffing Attorney General Ken Paxton’s effort to have the ruling put on hold while he appeals it.”

On May 14, the 14th Court of Appeals upheld the decision by state District Judge Tim Sulak in April that the risk of contracting COVID-19 could be considered a disability under state election law and is a valid reason for voters to legally request a ballot by mail.

“Eligible voters can vote by mail during this pandemic,” Chad Dunn, the Texas Democratic Party’s general counsel, said in a statement on May 14. “It is time for a few state officers to stop trying to force people to expose themselves to COVID-19 in order to vote.”

You can get the application form for a ballot by mail from the Hays County Elections Office website at https://hayscountytx.com/download/departments/elections/bbm-english-2018.pdf or at https://www.texasdemocrats.org/my-texas-votes-2/vote-by-mail/.

  1. If you previously did not qualify for a ballot by mail but you are concerned about the risk of COVID-19 exposure, check “Disability” in box  5 but do not write anything else in that box. Do not list your  disability, COVID-19, coronavirus or anything else; doing so could cause  your application to be rejected. Simply check the “Disability” box.
  2. In box 6a, check “Annual Application” so that you will automatically get mail-in ballots for the rest of 2020. You must also check “Democratic Primary” and “Any Resulting Runoff” to vote in the July 14 runoff election.
  3. Be sure to sign your application in box 10.
  4. Mail your application to the Early Voting Clerk at the address on the form.