The Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld Governor Greg Abbott’s order, which restricted counties to one location for mailing tickets. The order sparked legal and political controversy in the state, and it prevented some of the largest counties in the state from establishing multiple drop-off locations.
The unanimous decision of the Republican court overturned the lower court’s decision to issue an injunction against Abbott. One state’s appeal upheld the lower court’s decision last week.
The battle started after Abbott issued an order in late July that allowed Texans to hand over their mail votes before election day. Normally, absentee ballots in the state must be returned by mail, except on election day, when voters can hand in ballots in person.
After the announcement, some counties, including Harris County, the hometown of Houston, announced plans to set up multiple balloting locations. On October 1
The lawsuit filed by the Anti-Defamation League and the Common Cause argues that Abbott has no right to set restrictions and “has an unconstitutional burden on voters’ voting rights.” But the state Supreme Court disagreed.
The judge wrote: “In the end, the complainant complained that the Governor finally decided not to increase voting rights, not as much as he initially announced.” The election on November 3 is more important than the Electoral Law. This will not deprive anyone of the right to vote. “
In another case, the Federal Court of Appeals also upheld Abbott’s order earlier this month.
Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, condemned Tuesday’s decision in a statement. He said: “The Supreme Court of the Republican Party of Texas continues to amend the law in any way that ensures the political power of the Republican Party.”
Harris County officials have warned that reducing drop-off locations in the county may result in some voters “more than 50 miles away” from the location. Harris County is the largest county in Texas and the third largest in the United States.
Texas is one of the few states that has not expanded mail voting qualifications due to the coronavirus pandemic. In order to be eligible to vote by mail, you must be 65 years of age or older, have a disability, go out of the county on election day and earlier voting periods, or go to jail but have other qualifications.
Abbott’s July order also extended the in-person voting period in Texas by six days. The state’s turnout rate in early voting was incredible. More than 7.8 million Texans have voted in advance or voted by mail, accounting for 87% of the state’s total votes in 2016. On Tuesday, Harris County surpassed the 1.2 million votes cast in the 2012 presidential election.