Update: Acting on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s appeal, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals late Wednesday temporarily stayed enforcement of the lower court ruling while it considers the merits of a permanent reversal.
There is another court ruling and a quick appeal in the almost dizzying cycle of legal challenges related to this year’s election.
A U.S. judge in San Antonio ruled late Monday that all voters and poll workers need to wear masks at all voting locations, voiding Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to exempt polling places from his statewide mask order. By Tuesday morning, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had filed an appeal with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In issuing his ruling, Judge Jason Pulliam found the mask exemption violates the Voting Rights Act and that voiding it and requiring everyone to wear masks will not “materially or substantially affect the ongoing election.”
The 5th Circuit has, so far, been sympathetic to Paxton’s appeals of lower court rulings regarding the election.
Expecting the 5th Circuit to again rule in Paxton favor, Harris County will not enforce the lower court’s mask mandate on voters and poll watchers.
“While we applaud the court ruling that would require every voter to wear masks, we expect that it will be stayed,” said Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins in a Houston Chronicle story. “Thus, to avoid confusion, we will continue our policy of accommodating all voters, providing those who need it with protective equipment, and strongly encouraging all voters to wear masks at the polls.”
The lawsuit was filed by the NAACP and Mi Familia Vota.