Texas governor’s order limiting number of ballot drop-off sites blocked by Judge

The order by Greg Abbot Texas Gov. regarding limiting the number of areas where electors could hand-deliver mail-in voting forms in every county a month prior to the political election, was blocked by a federal judge. 

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The order by Greg Abbot Texas Gov. regarding limiting the number of areas where electors could hand-deliver mail-in voting forms in every county a month prior to the political election, was blocked by a federal judge. 

According to the Friday order of U.S. Locale Court Judge Robert Pitman’s, the state is prohibited from enforcing or implementing the order of the Republican governor, contending the risk it would put on the vulnerable voters. The ones qualified to cast a ballot ahead of schedule via mail in Texas must be out of their county on the voting days, must be 65 years or above, be disabled or sick, be serving time in prison but otherwise eligible. 

Pitman wrote that, “By limiting ballot return centers to one per county, older and disabled voters living in Texas’s largest and most populous counties must travel further distances to more crowded ballot return centers where they would be at an increased risk of being infected by the coronavirus in order to exercise their right to vote and have it counted.” 

He also wrote that “if the USPS is unable to deliver their ballots in time”, the electors could run the risk of disenfranchisement. 

Pitman gave the directive against Abbott’s Oct. 1 announcement, that restricted the number of areas where qualified citizens could give their mail-in voting forms to a single early voting clerk’s office, irrespective of the size of the county, effective the next day. It implied 11 such areas needed to be closed for Harris County – that is bigger than the state of Rhode Island. Whereas, three closed in Travis County and so on for the 254 counties of the state. 

According to Abbot, this would help strengthen security and “help stop attempts at illegal voting,” while voting rights advocates, democrats, and election officials argued that it would bring about voter suppression and confusion, with casting a ballot effectively in progress in Texas. The state additionally contended that worries about USPS delays depended on “subjective fear.” 

An emergency appeal was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Saturday, as an attempt to halt the order of the Judge. 

Paxton said in a statement that, “The district court’s order undermines our election security, disrupts the democratic process, and will only lead to voter confusion. It cannot stand. Mail-in ballots are particularly vulnerable to fraud. Protections that ensure their security must be upheld and my office will continue to fight for safe, free and fair elections.” 

The proclamation of the governor was called a “blatant act of discrimination” by The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), a civil rights group that sued the state. 

“Governor Greg Abbott is trying to prey on the fear of the pandemic which will keep Hispanics from wanting to risk their lives by going to the polls in person,” LULAC president Domingo Garcia said in a statement issued Friday. “Instead, they and many other qualified, legal voters prefer to safeguard their well-being by dropping off their ballot at authorized locations near them and today’s injunction guarantees they will be able to do so.” 

Gilberto Hinojosa; Texas Democratic Party Chair, advocated the order of the judge as “common sense,” saying that it prevented the lead representative from forming election rules after the election began. 

According to Chris Hollins Harris County Clerk, the order is a “victory for voting rights.” 

He said in a statement that, “Seniors and voters with disabilities across Harris County need these drop-off locations to deliver their mail ballots safely and conveniently during the global pandemic. We shouldn’t be playing politics with voters’ lives.” 

Abbott’s Oct. 1 announcement adjusted a July 27 order – which deferred a state law restricting hand-delivery of mail-in ballots forms on day of Election – and included six additional days of early casting of a ballot. 

 

Source abc news yahoo finance

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