Mail-in ballots | Texas Public Radio

Mail-in ballots

Courtesy Texas Civil Rights Project

A Texas couple was forced into a tough position on Election Day: quarantine — as instructed by Travis County public health officials — or vote in Tuesday’s primary runoff elections and take the chance of infecting others.

A Black Lives Matter activist leads a chant as protesters holding a banner block much of the road during the MLK Day march Jan. 15, 2018.
Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio

This week the Texas Supreme Court handed down a decision on the contentious issues of voting in person during a pandemic.


The Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a lack of immunity to the new coronavirus does not qualify a voter to apply for a mail-in ballot.

In the latest twist in the legal fight over voting by mail during the coronavirus pandemic, the court agreed with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that the risk of contracting the virus alone does not meet the state’s qualifications for voting by mail.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff prepare for their nightly briefing to the public on COVID-19 as they are joined by Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales.
Joey Palacios | Texas Public Radio

Fear of contracting the coronavirus is a legitimate reason to request a mail-in ballot for Texas elections, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday. In response, the Bexar County District Attorney said voters can begin requesting mail-in ballots now.


A federal judge on Tuesday opened a path for a massive expansion in absentee voting in Texas by ordering that all state voters regardless of age qualify for a mail-in ballot during the coronavirus pandemic.

For weeks Texas has been locked down due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The efforts to implement social distancing and slow the spread of the deadly virus forced schools and many businesses to close. This also drove political campaigns to freeze just as Texas was gearing up for one of the toughest general elections in decades. But now that Governor Greg Abbott is allowing more businesses to open their doors, what is happening with political campaigns and their efforts to persuade potential voters.  Are the candidates ready to get back on the stump, shake hands and kiss babies?

A woman is pushed in a wheelchair outside the Chateau Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where health officials said a patient tested positive for COVID-19 in Willowbrook, Illinois.
Joshua Lott | Reuters

The COVID-19 pandemic is particularly alarming for those people with disabilities. Many are in environments like treatment centers and group homes were the virus can easily spread. Also a number of them have underlying medication conditions that can complicate treatment. But more alarming is that some states have issued medical guidance that unlawfully discriminates against people with intellectual disabilities and brain injuries.

Ryan Poppe

Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign to register mail-in ballot applications for seniors ahead of the deadline is creating costly headaches for many county election officials.