Fear of COVID-19 will not be a reason to vote by mail in the November general election, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
Absentee ballots filed for Thursday’s primary will remain valid, according to the court.
The high court’s decision reverses a Nashville judge’s injunction that allowed any voter concerned about COVID-19 to vote by mail. But the full lawsuit remains unresolved.
Concerned voters filed lawsuits in Davidson County Chancery Court earlier this year asking for an expansion of the existing policy as cases of the novel coronavirus began to sweep through Tennessee.
Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle ruled on June 4 that the state must add a COVID-19 exemption to the list of possible excuses. The state appealed, and the Supreme Court agreed to take the case directly.
In the 4-1 decision, the high court found that Lyle’s injunction was an error and vacated it.
“With respect to those plaintiffs and persons who do not have special vulnerability to COVID-19 or who are not caretakers for persons with special vulnerability to COVID-19, we hold that the trial court erred in issuing the temporary injunction,” the Supreme Court ruling stated.
You can find the decision at this link.