With an expected increase in mail-in voting during the COVID-19 pandemic, voter rights advocates have filed lawsuits across the country challenging existing obstacles in states’ mail-in voting procedures.
Challenges to mail-in voter restrictions have been filed in Tennessee, Texas, Minnesota, Georgia and North Carolina, among others.
Some challenges primarily address the general restrictions states have placed on who can receive a mail-in ballot. For example, in Texas, according to Texas Election Code § 82.002, “a qualified voter is eligible for early voting by mail if the voter has a sickness or physical condition that prevents the voter from appearing at the polling place on election day.” The plaintiffs in the federal court case contend that all voters qualify for mail-in voting under this provision. In Tennessee, the same argument is being made for the state’s Excuse Requirement, which allows an “excuse,” or reason for a mail-in ballot, for voters who are “hospitalized, ill or physically disabled, and because of such condition, [are] unable to appear at [their] polling place on election day.”
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