Judge Overturns Texas Gov. Order Closing Remote Ballot Drop Sites



A federal judge has blocked an order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that limited absentee ballot drop-off sites to one per county, according to a new ruling.

“The State’s proffered reason of ballot security is a pretext,” U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman wrote. “The Court finds that the Oct. 1 Order does not promote ballot security.”

Abbott’s order was deemed as a threat to keep disabled and elderly people from voters by forcing them to travel longer distances to submit their ballots. The judge said postal service delays and changes brought on uncertainty as to whether mailed ballots would arrive by election day.

“Gov. Abbott’s unilateral decision to reverse his July 27 Order after officials already began sending out absentee ballots and just days before the start of early voting in Texas has caused voter confusion,” Pittman added. “It is apparent that closing ballot return centers at the last minute would cause confusion, especially when those centers were deemed safe, authorized, and, in fact, advertised as a convenient option just months ago.”

“The need for adjudication of Plaintiffs’ claims is immediate; any delay risks irreparable violation of the a right that the Supreme Court has called ‘the essence of a democratic society,'” Pitman wrote.

Within hours of Pitman’s ruling, Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs appealed to the New Orleans-based 5th& Circuit Court of Appeals.

After the ruling, the state of Texas appealed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

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