Oct 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Texas Supreme Court: State can restrict drop-off sites to one per county

Photo of a hand covering a ballot about to be submitted

A poll worker stamps a voter's ballot before dropping it into a secure box at a ballot drop-off location in Austin, Texas, on Oct. 13. Photo: Sergio Flores via Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott can limit counties to one drop-off location each for mail-in ballots prior to Election Day, the state’s Supreme Court said on Tuesday. Voting rights activists have accused Abbott of voter suppression tactics.

Why it matters: The ruling, which overturns a temporary injunction, comes on the heels of a final push for voters by both parties in the critical battleground state.

  • With one week left until Election Day, the restriction of drop-off sites could force voters into long lines and increase the risk of COVID-19 spread.

Details: Votings rights groups argued that Abbott's October Proclamation, which limits drop-off sites, infringes on the right to vote and disproportionately burdens voters in large counties, but the court disagreed, writing that the October Proclamation is an “adjustment” to his July Proclamation.

  • Abbott’s July Proclamation allowed mail-in voters to deliver ballots to an early drop-off site due to COVID concerns.
  • “The July Proclamation’s expansion of early voting was undisputedly based on the pandemic, and the October Proclamation was merely an adjustment to what was and still is a reaction to the pandemic.”

Yes, but: Abbott cited "ballot security" as his reason for the October proclamation.

Where it stands: Early voting began on Oct. 13, but a trial court ruled in favor of plaintiffs and halted the Proclamation’s effects on Oct. 15.

  • It is unclear how the reversal of the temporary injunction will impact sought-after demographics in the Lone Star state.

What to watch: Poll: Hispanic vote key as Trump leads Biden in close Texas race

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