On Friday, District Judge Tim Sulak (D) issued a temporary injunction enjoining Travis Co. Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, and by extension any election official in the state, from “rejecting any mail ballot applications received from registered voters who use the disability category of eligibility as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Last month, the Texas Democratic Party filed the suit seeking a declaratory order holding that voters concerned about being infected by the coronavirus causing COVID-19 were eligible to request a ballot by mail. Other parties, including voting rights groups and an individual voter from Travis Co., intervened on the plaintiff’s behalf. The state intervened on DeBeauvoir’s behalf.

The case hinged on what constitutes a “disability” that makes a voter eligible to apply for a mail ballot. Section 82.002, Election Code provides that a 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 without a likelihood of needing personal assistance or of injuring the voter’s health.”

Sulak wrote it was “reasonable to conclude that voting in person while the virus that causes COVID-19 is still in general circulation presents a likelihood of injuring [voters’] health, and any voters without established immunity meet the plain language definition of disability” under Sec. 82.002, Election Code.

“The League is pleased with the decision today that will life what could have been a massive burden for Texans in the upcoming elections,” said Grace Chimene, president of the League of Women Voters of Texas, one of the intervenor-plaintiffs, in a statement.

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