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National and Texas-Based Disability and Civil Rights Organizations Issue Statement on Lawsuit Challenging Validity of Drive-Thru Voting

by | Nov 1, 2020 | Press Release

For Immediate Release: November 1, 2020

Contact: Keri Gray, kgray@aapd.com

WASHINGTON, DC – Leading disability and civil rights organizations in Texas and across the country call the lawsuit challenging validity of drive-thru voting a threat to the rights of voters with disabilities. Organizations call upon the court to uphold the constitutional rights of all voters and ensure that the over 120,000 votes cast by drive-thru voting in Harris County, Texas, are counted.

The undersigned national and Texas-based disability and civil rights organizations are deeply concerned with the recent lawsuit challenging the validity of more than 120,000 votes in Harris County, Texas, cast via drive thru voting. The suit claims that drive-thru voting—previously utilized in August of 2020 without objection—is somehow invalid in November of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed significant challenges for individuals and election officials alike. Individuals have been forced to negotiate concerns between reducing their risk of exposure to the coronavirus and participating in democracy. Elections officials have been forced to determine how to reduce the burden of such a choice on voters by establishing protocols that promote safe, secure, and accessible elections. For older voters and voters with disabilities, people who regularly face barriers at the polls and who are at a heightened risk for COVID-19, solutions like drive-thru voting make it possible to participate in the general election while mitigating risk of exposure to the virus. With this lawsuit, now more than 120,000 Texan voters, voters who followed the rules, made a safe voting plan, and exercised their constitutional right to vote, are now all at risk of having their votes not counted.

This lawsuit is a direct threat to the rights of disabled voters who rely on the safety of drive-thru voting and would set a dangerous precedent for the future of the voting rights of people both with and without disabilities. With this year marking the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is unconscionable to see how some lawmakers still do not believe in the full civic participation of people with disabilities.

This lawsuit is wholly without merit and granting the relief sought will undoubtedly and unlawfully disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters with disabilities. On Monday, one day before the final opportunity to vote, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen will preside over this case in federal court. We urge Judge Hanen to follow the precedent set by the Texas Supreme Court by upholding the rights of Texas voters and ensuring that all of the more than 120,000 votes at stake are counted. We will not tolerate the further disenfranchisement of voters with disabilities in Texas.

National Organizations
American Association of People with Disabilities
Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network
Blinded Veterans Association
Center for Public Representation
Crip Camp Impact Campaign
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
Justice in Aging
Little People of America
NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund
National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
National Council on Independent Living
National Disability Rights Network
Not Dead Yet
The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies
United Spinal Association
World Institute on Disability
Young Black Lawyers’ Organizing Coalition (YBLOC)

Texas Organizations
101 Mobility of Houston
ADAPT of Texas
Adaptive Athletics at University of Houston
Brazoria County Center for Independent Living
Capability Conquerors
City of Houston Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities
Coalition of Texans with Disabilities
Coastal Bend Center for Independent Living
Deaf Blind Multi Handicapped Association of Texas
Disability Rights Texas
Emgage Texas
Family to Family
Fort Bend Center for Independent Living
Greater Houston Disability Chamber of Commerce
Gulf Coast ADAPT
Houston Adapted Sports Club
Houston Center for Independent Living
Houston Commission on Disabilities
Houston Council of the Blind
JFS Alexander Institute
LINK Houston
Living Hope Wheelchair Association
Local Elections in America Project, Rice University
Myasthenia Gravis Support Group of Greater Houston
National Federation of the Blind of Texas
National Federation of the Blind of Texas Houston Chapter
Personal Attendant Coalition of Texas
REV UP Texas
Texas Parents of Blind Children
Texas Association of Blind Students
Texas Association of Guide Dog Users
Texas Civil Rights Project
Texas Parents of Blind Children
United Spinal Association of Houston
University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work
Visually Impaired Advocates

Any questions regarding this statement can be directed to AAPD’s President and CEO, Maria Town, at mtown@aapd.com. For any questions about voting in the 2020 elections, check our our resources on Voting in 2020.


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AAPD is a convener, connecter, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities. As one of the leading national cross-disability civil rights organizations, AAPD advocates for the full recognition of rights for the over 60 million Americans with disabilities. AAPD’s programs and initiatives have been effective in mobilizing the disability community through communications advocacy; cultivating and training new and emerging leaders with disabilities through leadership development programs; increasing the political participation of Americans with disabilities and elevating the power of the disability vote through the REV UP (Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power!) Campaign; and advancing disability inclusion in the workplace through the Disability Equality Index (DEI) — the nation’s leading corporate benchmarking tool for disability equality and inclusion. To learn more about AAPD, visit www.aapd.com.

AAPD’s REV UP Campaign aims to foster civic engagement and protect the voting rights of Americans with disabilities. AAPD works with state and national coalitions on effective, non-partisan campaigns to address the concerns of people with disabilities, eliminate barriers to voting, promote accessibility of voting; educate communities about issues and candidates; promote turnout of voters with disabilities across the country; and engage candidates and the media on disability issues. Learn more about REV UP at www.aapd.com/revup.