Appeals court reinstates Texas limit on ballot drop-off locations
A federal court of appeals has issued a temporary stay of a lower court’s ruling that had halted the governor of Texas’s efforts to limit counties across the state to one ballot drop-off location.
Reuters reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled Saturday that Abbot’s efforts could continue while the case is appealed. A judge for the Western District of Texas had ruled on Friday that Abbot’s rule added unnecessary confusion to the election proceedings.
The judge, Robert Pittman, had also rejected the state’s arguments that multiple locations for ballot deposits could increase the risk of voter fraud.
“The State’s own approval of counties using satellite ballot return centers on Election Day belies their assertion that those same ballot return centers present ballot security concerns,” he wrote Friday in his decision, which represented a victory for state Democrats.
Allies of President Trump, including Republican state leaders around the country, have sought to resist Democrats’ efforts to expand mail-in or absentee voting, which experts say is expected to rise sharply amid the COVID-19 pandemic due to many voters desiring to stay away from public locations such as voting precincts, which are often in located in schools and other high-traffic areas.
Abbott issued the proclamation limiting counties to one absentee ballot drop-off location earlier in October, declaring that the move would “ensure greater transparency and will help stop attempts at illegal voting.”
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