Local Groups Sue Gov Abbott Over Ballot Drop Off Rules
The Texas League of United Latin American Citizens and the League of Women Voters of Texas and two Texas voters asked a federal judge in Austin to overturn the governor’s order, which forced all state counties to limit drop off voting ballots to one location.
Gov. Greg Abbott’s order allowing Texas counties no more than one drop-off location for voters casting absentee ballots, calling the proclamation an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote that will impact voters of color in Texas cities state wide.
"The impact of this eleventh-hour decisions is momentous, targets Texas' most vulnerable voters—older voters, and voters with disabilities—and results in wild variations in access to absentee voting drop-off locations depending on the county a voter resides in," attorneys for thegroups argued "It also results in predictable disproportionate impacts on minority communities that already hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis."
Record numbers of Texans are requesting mail-in ballots for the highly anticipated election as the country is in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many voters are expected to drop off their ballots in person rather than using the U.S. Postal Service, which has been plagued by cutbacks and doubts over its ability to deliver ballots early enough to be counted.
When asked about the lawsuit, Abbott spokesman John Wittman said the governor “has expanded access to voting."
A few months ago, Abbott extended the early voting period by about a week and allowed voters to deliver their absentee ballots in person earlier than usual, citing the pandemic. His order this week limited where voters may turn in those ballots, not when.
Wittman added that the governor’s Oct. 1 order concerns only absentee ballots, most of which he said are submitted by mail.
“The additional time provided for those who want to submit their mail-in ballot in person is sufficient to accommodate the limited number of people who have traditionally used that voting strategy,” Wittman said.