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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

Go deeper

Voter suppression then and now

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Barry Lewis/Getty Images 

From its start, the United States gave citizens the right to vote — as long as they were white men who owned property. From counting a slave as 3/5 of a white man to the creation of the Electoral College, there's a through-line of barriers that extends to today based on racial politics.

Why it matters: 150 years after the 15th Amendment — and 55 years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act — people of color still face systemic obstacles to voting.

How racial politics still suppress the vote

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Jeremy Hogan (SOPA Image), Noam Galai (WireImage)/Getty Images

Laws restricting voting are less overt than in the days of segregation. But many impediments — some subtle, some blatant — remain for Americans of color.

The big picture: That's changing at this very moment — slowly, and very unevenly.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

New deals in the COVID economy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 is the macro horror of our lifetimes, and has destroyed or severely damaged countless businesses. But, like with most horribles, it also has created some opportunities.

Driving the news: Merck this morning announced an agreement to buy OncoImmune, a Maryland-based biotech that showed promising late-stage clinical results for a therapy that treats severe and critical coronavirus cases.