ACLU sues Mississippi over mail-in voting laws

ACLU sues Mississippi over mail-in voting laws
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Mississippi Center for Justice on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the state of Mississippi as the two groups push for absentee voting to be more accessible in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mississippi is one of 17 states in the country that requires voters requesting an absentee ballot to list an excuse for not voting in person. Similar to other states, one of the allowable reasons under Mississippi law is a “temporary or permanent physical disability."

The state legislature recently passed a bill expanding that threshold to include any voter “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.”

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The lawsuit is asking a state court to clarify that all voters who are following public health guidance to avoid contracting or spreading coronavirus through large crowds and public spaces may invoke the “temporary physical disability” reason to vote absentee.

“Mississippians should not have to risk exposure to a deadly virus in order to vote. The court can ensure that voters do not have to choose between their health and their vote,” Theresa Lee, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in a statement.

Litigation is ongoing in several parts of the country as the coronavirus pandemic rages in several states, including Mississippi. 

President TrumpDonald TrumpMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 Trump endorses David Perdue in Georgia's governor race MORE and his allies have said, without evidence, that mail-in voting could lead to widespread voter fraud. Democrats have pushed for expanded mail-in voting as public health officials advise people to avoid large crowds.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that more than 75 percent of U.S. voters will be able to vote by mail in the 2020 presidential election, the highest percentage in U.S. history. This comes after several states have adjusted their mail-in voting restrictions to allow more people to qualify for mail-in voting.