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article imageTexas governor's order on limiting ballot drop-off boxes squashed

By Karen Graham     Oct 10, 2020 in Politics
A federal judge shot down a Texas proclamation limiting each county in the state to just one ballot drop-off location in this year’s elections, handing Democrats a key win in a competitive state.
U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, serving on the District Court for the Western District of Texas, said Abbott’s order placed an unacceptable burden on the voting rights of elderly and disabled Texans, who are most likely to request a mail-in ballot and to hand-deliver those ballots early to ensure that they are counted.
Judge Pittman also noted that these voters were more susceptible to COVID-19. Pitman added that if voters were forced to rely on the US Postal Service to get their absentee ballots in, they risked being disenfranchised if the ballots didn't get delivered in time to count.
When Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued his executive order last week limiting ballot drop-off boxes to just one per county, throughout the state, indignant cries of voter suppression rang out.
You must be 65 or older, sick or disabled, out of the county on Election Day and during the period for early voting or be confined to jail but otherwise eligible to request a mail-in ballot in Texas, according to ABC affiliate KVUE.
It did not take long after Abbott's proclamation last Thursday before a number of groups sued the governor and other elected officials. The National and Texas League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) filed federal suit first on October 1, claiming the governor’s order “engenders voter confusion and undermines the public’s confidence in the election itself.”
On October 2, the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans sued in federal court, claiming the governor’s proclamation “threatens the right to vote for countless lawful Texas voters.”
A lawsuit filed on October 6 by the Texas State Conference of the NAACP branches claimed that Abbott's order “violates the Texas constitution – in addition to being inconsistent with principles of efficient election administration and fundamental fairness to all Texas voters.” That case was assigned to Travis County’s 353rd Civil District Court but a hearing has not been set.
Texas Democrats hailed Friday night’s ruling, accusing Abbott of trying to engage in voter suppression, reports The Hill.
“Governor Abbott’s attempt to suppress Texas voters has been thwarted. Judge Pitman’s common sense order followed well-established law and stopped the governor from making up election rules after the election started," said Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa. "Frankly, it ought to be a shock to all of us that such a ruling is even required.
More about Texas governor, 2020 election, ballot dropoff boxes, Federal judge, Voter suppression
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