Attorney General Ken Paxton today applauded the Texas Supreme Court for ruling that election officials in Dallas, Cameron, El Paso, Harris and Travis Counties are incorrect to include fear of contracting COVID-19 as a “disability” on mail-in ballot applications. Election law established by the Texas Legislature generally requires in-person voting, and allows mail balloting only for certain limited groups, including those with actual disabilities that render them unable to vote in-person. 

“I applaud the Texas Supreme Court for ruling that certain election officials’ definition of ‘disability’ does not trump that of the Legislature, which has determined that widespread mail-in balloting carries unacceptable risks of corruption and fraud,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Election officials have a duty to reject mail-in ballot applications from voters who are not entitled to vote by mail. In-person voting is the surest way to maintain the integrity of our elections, prevent voter fraud and guarantee that every voter is who they claim to be.”  

“Disability,” as that term is used in the Texas Election Code’s provisions allowing voting by mail, must involve “sickness or physical condition” that prevents a voter from voting in person on election day without a likelihood of needing personal assistance or of injuring the voter’s health. A voter ill with COVID-19 and who meets those requirements may apply for a ballot by mail. Fear of contracting COVID-19, however, is a normal emotional reaction to the current pandemic and does not amount to an actual disability that qualifies a voter to receive a ballot by mail.

Read a copy of the order here