Texas Governor Greg Abbott Limits Drop-off Ballot Boxes To One per County
Texas Governor Greg Abbott decided that starting Friday, October 2, there will only be one drop-off point for election ballots per county.
The move most significantly affects the county of Harris, a massive democratic stronghold in the state which previously had 11 drop-offs. Travis County, which includes the democratic city of Austin, must also limit its four drop-off points to only one.
So under @GovAbbott’s new order, counties in Texas, regardless of size, are limited to ONE drop off box for ballots.
So Harris County (Houston), 1,777 square miles, has to close 11 of 12 drop off locations.
This is about as subtle as a screen door on a submarine.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) October 1, 2020
The Republican governor said in a statement the order was made to enhance ballot security. It also allows poll watchers to observe the in-person delivery of mail-in ballots by voters, but critics say it could severely limit access for many voters.
“The State of Texas has a duty to voters to maintain the integrity of our elections,” Abbott said. “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.”
The decision has already drawn fire from Texas Democrats. The state’s Democratic party chair, Gilberto Hinojosa, labeled it a “blatant voter suppression tactic” in a press release.
For those of you not from Texas, Harris County includes Houston, and has more people than 24 states. It will have one drop box. https://t.co/IdnDihT38v
— Paul Begala (@PaulBegala) October 1, 2020
An unprecedented number of absentee ballots are expected to be cast this year as voters who qualify under Texas’s unusually strict vote-by-mail rules opt to avoid the health risks of voting in person. Republican officials have aggressively fought Democratic efforts to expand access to mail-in ballots during the pandemic.
We hope that Texas residents can still vote and remind everyone of their right to vote. You can check where to vote in your county here.