Texas voters will no longer need to wear a mask when voting, at least for now

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The Federal Court of Appeals overturned an order that would force voters to don coverings during an epidemic during an epidemic in which Texans wear face masks.

Voting in Texas

  • When was the last day to register to vote?

    Deadline to register to vote in the 2020 general election Oct Oct. Was 5. Check if you are registered to vote here. If not, you need to fill out and submit an application, which you can request or download here.

  • When can I vote early?

    Preliminary polls for the 2020 general election Oct. Oct. 13 to 30 Oct Oct. Lasts until. Voters can cast their ballots at any polling station in the county where they are registered to vote during early voting. Election day is November 3rd.

  • How will voting be different because of the epidemic?

    In general, polling stations will have social distance and on-site guidance for regular cleaning. Some counties will offer ballot marking devices so voters can avoid contact with election equipment. Voters will probably wear face masks and other protective devices, but voters will not need masks.

  • How do I know if I’m eligible to vote by mail?

    Texas is one of the few states that has not begun mail-in voting to any voter concerned about getting COVID-19 at the polls. You can find eligibility requirements and review other questions about voting by mail.

  • Are polling stations the same on election day as at the start of polling?

    Not always. You must check open polling stations with your local election office fee before you go to the polls. In addition, you can confirm with your county election office fees whether Election Day voting is prohibited at locations in your designated area or if you can vote at a polling station.

  • Can I vote even if I have Covid-19?

    Yes. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are showing symptoms, consider using an emergency mail-in ballot request or a curbside poll. Contact your county election office fee for more details about both options.

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On Wednesday, an appeals panel of three judges, at least for now, invalidated the exemption for polling stations included in the government’s Greg Abbott’s statewide mask order due to a district judge’s Tuesday ruling. The panel, known as the Administrative Investment, approved, which only prevents the execution of the judgment while the court considers whether to issue an order revoking it during the entire appeal process.

The governor’s order to cover the mouths and noses of Texans in public does not apply to polling stations, an exception that has been challenged as discrimination against black and Latino voters who are likely to be harmed by the coronavirus. Abbott had previously said he encouraged voters to wear face masks, but he said he excluded polling stations from his order to prevent people from voting because they did not have masks. Polling workers are also not required to wear masks under Abbott’s order.

In his interim ruling, issued Tuesday night, U.S. District Judge Jason Pulium said the acquittal “creates a discriminatory burden on black and Latino voters.”

Abbott and Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughes immediately called the 5th U.S. The Circuit Court of Appeals sought an appeal in the appellate court, which granted the administrative stay Wednesday evening. Awaiting an appellate court ruling, Harris County Clerk’s Office Fees said early Wednesday that it had pursued a policy of vigorously encouraging voters to wear masks to avoid confusion, but not necessarily.

The argument for the voting mask order was first raised in a very wide-ranging lawsuit filed in July by Abbott and Texas Secretary of State MI Familia Vota, the Texas National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and two Texas voters. The plaintiff also demanded the start of polling month, the opening of an additional polling station and the postponement of the restrictive rules on who can vote without entering the polling station.

Puliam, based in San Antonio, dismissed the lawsuit in September, when Texas assured him that the major changes sought in state rules for voting individually during the epidemic were outside his jurisdiction as a federal judge. But earlier this month, with early voting underway, U.S. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals again fined Polyam for reviewing the argument about the board-mask order for anyone at the polling station.

The appellate court said that if Polyam saw that Abbott’s decision not to wear a mask during voting would reject racially discriminatory voting practices by the Federal Voting Rights Act, it would have jurisdiction to order changes.

“Black and Latino Texans સં are more likely to be infected and have a serious illness or die in COVID-19. Black and Latino voters in Texas also face long lines at polling stations and are exposed to the risk of being broadcast in front of other voters and crowds of polling workers, ”the plaintiff wrote in his new argument before Pulium last week. “Under these conditions, black and Latino voters must choose not to vote or risk their lives or the lives of their loved ones. White voters do not face the same level of risk. “

The Texas Attorney General’s Office Fees responded that most states do not require masks at polling stations, arguing that a new legal battle over potential voting rights violations is taking too long – more than a million million taxpayers have voted since early voting. Started October 13th.

“During the Texas epidemic and even in counties with large minority populations, there is a way to break its previous voting record.”

After the district judge upheld Abbott’s release, effectively requiring a mask at the time of the vote, the plaintiff said it was “a tremendous victory for democracy.”

Texas NAACP President Gary Bladeso said, “The judge has already confirmed that last night we received reports in Texas that polling officials tested positive for coronavirus, and that other polling stations had to be closed due to sick polling workers.” Said Gary Bladeso. , In a statement. “And, this past week, we have received reports from polling observers who were using their maskless presence to intimidate minority voters.”

Disclosure: The Texas Secretary of State Office Fees, The Texas Tribune, has been a financial supporter of a nonprofit, non-partisan news organization funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. There is no role for financial backers in the Tribune’s journalism. Find their full list here.