UPDATE – OCT. 15, 2020 2PM:
A state court judge blocked Governor Greg Abbott’s plan to limit each county to a single drop-off locations for mail-in ballots. On Thursday, the state court judge, Tim Sulak, issued the injunction against the limitation, stating that limiting the number of drop-off locations would put voters at risk during the coronavirus pandemic.
On Oct. 1, Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation that would allow for only one drop-off location in each Texas county. Although Abbott claimed that election security was the reason for this proclamation, it still raised concerns for some Texans. In Harris County, 11 out of the 12 drop-off sites had to be shut down.
The Fight Over Drop-Off Locations
This proclamation made by Abbott drew the attention of many groups, who would go on to sue in an attempt to reinstate the multiple drop-off locations. They argued that changing voting procedures in the middle of the election places a burden on the voters. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman sided with these groups, issuing an order that would prevent Abbott from reducing the number of drop-off sites in each county. In addition to that, Pitman also raised concerns regarding the safety of voters due to the ongoing pandemic.
“Absentee voters, if they choose not to return their ballots in person to avoid exposure to Covid-19, to face the risk that their ballots will not be counted if the USPS is unable to timely deliver their ballot after it’s been requested or unable to timely return their completed ballot,” wrote Pitman in his order.
The Governor’s office quickly appealed the decision made by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman, with the federal appeals court choosing to have restrictions remain in place until the decision was made. The court ruling made late Monday night upheld the ruling made by Abbott that limited the number of drop-off locations per county.