On May 21, 2020 the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed an emergency amicus brief on behalf of Texas voters in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The brief opposes a stay sought by Texas officials that would block a recent preliminary injunction allowing Texans to vote by mail in order to minimize their exposure to COVID-19. The stay sought by Texas would also disproportionately harm Black and Latinx voters, who are more susceptible to serious complications from COVID-19 due to health care disparities and other inequalities stemming from racial discrimination.
“We cannot let Texas be a repeat of what happened in Wisconsin,” said Mahogane Reed, John Payton Appellate and Supreme Court Advocacy Fellow at LDF. “More than 50 positive cases of COVID-19 were linked to in-person voting in Wisconsin’s election on April 7. Without vote-by-mail access, Texas will face the same problem — and voters will endure the consequences.”
“The United States Constitution does not allow states to require their citizens to risk contracting a serious disease to vote,” said Sam Spital, LDF’s Director of Litigation. “Such requirements are a form of voter suppression, particularly against Black and Latinx voters, who have both contracted and died of COVID-19 complications in significantly higher numbers than other groups due to institutional racism.”
Since March 2020, Texas has reported more than 51,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and over 1,400 deaths. The state’s highest increase in positive cases — approximately 1,450 — occurred on May 16.
Read LDF’s amicus brief filed on behalf of Texas voters here.