Citing a disability is among the few reasons that Texans can qualify to vote by mail during the pandemic this November — in addition to being 65 or older, being outside of their county during the election, or being confined to jail but otherwise eligible to vote.
But in recent months, what counts as a disability in Texas has been politicized and litigated. The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that a lack of immunity to the coronavirus is not in itself enough to qualify. Beyond that, the court ruled that voters should decide for themselves if their medical situations meet the state’s criteria.
“Individuals are being left up to themselves to make some pretty big eligibility decisions on their own, which can be nerve-wracking and make citizens very concerned about whether or not their choices are justifiable or not,” said Molly Broadway, voting rights specialist at Disability Rights Texas. “A lot of voters are concerned about, will they truly be seen as having a disability for those who do have disabilities?”