The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Mississippi, and Mississippi Center for Justice filed a lawsuit on August 11, 2020, seeking to ensure that absentee voting is more accessible to Mississippians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most states allow any voter to cast an absentee ballot. Mississippi, however, has long required voters to choose from a list of “excuses” to do so. One of the allowable reasons is for a “temporary or permanent physical disability.”
The Legislature recently amended the law to state that a “temporary physical disability” includes any voter who is “under a physician-imposed quarantine due to COVID-19 during the year 2020 or is caring for a dependent who is under a physician-imposed quarantine due to COVID-19.”
The groups are seeking a ruling from the court clarifying that all voters who are following public health guidance to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19 may invoke the “temporary physical disability” reason to vote absentee.