Abbott orders counties to only offer one drop-off location for mail-in ballots

Travis County had planned on four; Harris County had planned on 12

Talk 1370 Newsroom
October 01, 2020 - 1:27 pm
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman via USA TODAY NETWORK

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AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation Thursday limiting each county across the state to just one single location for voters to drop off their completed mail-in ballot for the November 3 election.

Calling the move an effort to enhance ballot security, Abbott said each county's designated site must also allow for poll watchers designated by political parties and candidates to observe the dropoffs.

"The State of Texas has a duty to voters to maintain the integrity of our elections," Abbott said in a statement. "As we work to preserve Texans’ ability to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must take extra care to strengthen ballot security protocols throughout the state. These enhanced security protocols will ensure greater transparency and will help stop attempts at illegal voting."

Voters are required to hand deliver their own carrier envelope, present an acceptable form of identification, sign a signature roster, and then deposit their mail-in ballot into a ballot box.

The move is expected to impact Texas' largest urban counties, where elections officials have been reporting a significant increase in the number of mail-in ballot applications. Travis County had planned to offer four dropoff locations, while Harris County had 12 locations.

The Texas Democratic Party called Abbott's move a "blatant voter supression tactic." In a statement, TDP Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said "Republicans are on the verge of losing, so Gov. Abbott is trying to adjust the rules last minute. Courts all over the country, including the Fifth Circuit yesterday, have held that it is too late to change election rules, but our failed Republican leadership will try anyway. Make no mistake, Democracy itself is on the ballot. Every Texan must get out and vote these cowards out!"

The new proclamation, which takes effect Friday, modifies Abbott's original July 27 order that added six days of early voting and suspended a state law that limits ballot dropoff to Election Day only.

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