Gov. Greg Abbott messes with Texas' absentee ballots for presidential election
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has closed down locations across the state where absentee ballots could be accepted, making it harder for residents to vote early.
The governor ordered counties to stop accepting hand-delivered absentee ballots at more than one location per county.
Among the most profoundly affected: Highly populated counties like Harris County, which includes Houston and has more than 4.7 million residents.
Harris County previously had 11 locations where you could drop off ballots. Now there will be one, requiring some residents to drive more than an hour.
Dallas County had five drop-off locations prior to the order. Now: Just one, for a county with a population of more than 2.5 million people.
The drop-off sites were a plus for voters trying to avoid crowds on Election Day.
The new order will also make it difficult in rural counties like Brewster, the largest county in Texas, which covers 6,192 square miles, requiring ridiculously lengthy drives to deliver ballots.
Abbott said the new order is to ensure the security of the ballots, and repeated the disputed claim that this will help stop attempts at illegal voting.
Dallas County Judge Jenkins said in a statement that Abbott's new order had Trump "written all over it."
"Today, Governor Abbott used his executive authority to unilaterally close down dozens of satellite voting locations across the state established to assist Texas voters during this pandemic," Jenkins said. "While Dallas County’s one designated drop-off site is safe, the requirement that early voting clerks must allow up to two poll watchers from every candidate to observe ballot delivery puts our older, most dedicated workers at more risk with this forced exposure."
"This has President Trump written all over it with the Governor changing the rules with 33 days until the most important election of our lifetime to make it harder to vote," he said. "It is imperative that everyone today make a plan to vote. Decide where, when, and how you will cast your ballot."
The one remaining drop-off point in Dallas County to return their mail-in ballots is at:
1520 Round Table Dr.
Voters can bring their completed ballots along with their state approved identification to the Elections Department. For questions or to confirm the hours that ballots can be accepted each day, call 469-627-VOTE (8683).
On July 27, Abbott added six days of early absentee voting, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic - an order that Texas Republicans are challenging in court.