Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order this week closing ballot drop-off locations in several of Texas’ most populous counties. The order allows counties to only have one ballot drop point per county. The move is being chided as a blatant voter suppression tactic.
Update: A suit has been filed challenging Gov. Abbott's proclamation by the Texas League of United Latin American Citizens, League of Women Voters of Texas and others.
Gov. Abbott’s laughable justification is that his actions are needed to protect the integrity of the election, but there is no evidence that giving people closer locations to drop-off ballots increases fraud and election fraud is rare than getting struck by lightning.
this isn’t security, it’s suppression
— Lina Hidalgo, Democratic Harris County Judge
Voter fraud in Texas has occurred at a rate of 1 instance of fraud for every 18 million votes cast. Lightening strikes at the much higher rate of 1 person for every 1.35 million in the state.
Here’s what it means:
- Harris County, the most populous in the state and heavily Democrat, will shudder 11 of it’s 12 sites.
- Harris will only have one location though it is nearly 2,000 square miles and larger than the state of Rhode Island.
- And it has the population of 26 U.S. states combined.
- Democratic stronghold Travis county had 4 sites to deal with the influx of voters dropping off absentee ballots.
- Poll watchers will be allowed at the drop-off sites. Texas has a strict voter ID law and there are fears GOP observers may challenge voters and slow down ballot drop-offs, causing lines and chaos.
- Gov. Abbott’s office offered no evidence when challenged to explain how multiple drop-off sites decreased election security.
Texas has been a reliably Republican state and is a bulwark for GOP electoral college victories with 38 electors. Only California with 55 carries more. But polls over the summer have shown Biden as close as 1 point behind Trump prompting fears that Texas, which is actually a majority minority state with a large Latino population, could be a tossup.
The Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa responded to the news: Republicans are on the verge of losing, so Governor Abbott is trying to adjust the rules last minute. We are creating a movement that will beat them at the ballot box on November 3, and there’s nothing these cheaters can do about it.