Wide-ranging lawsuit claims Texas' in-person voting rules will disenfranchise Black, Latino voters during the pandemic

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Voters are directed to polling sites for the runoff election in Houston on July 14, 2020. Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

Opening a new front in the legal wars over voting during the coronavirus pandemic, two civil rights organizations and two Texas voters argue that the state’s rules for in-person voting won’t work this year and are asking a federal judge to require substantial changes.

In a wide-ranging federal lawsuit filed Thursday in San Antonio, Mi Familia Vota, the Texas NAACP and the voters claim the state’s current polling place procedures — including rules for early voting, the likelihood of long lines and Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to not require voters to wear masks — place an unconstitutional burden on voters while the virus remains in circulation.

That burden will be particularly high for Black and Latino voters whose communities have been disproportionately affected by the virus, the lawsuit argues.