The League of Women Voters (LWV) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), along with two individual voters, have joined the ranks of those filing lawsuits against Gov. Greg Abbott following his proclamation earlier this week limiting the number of places that absentee ballots can be dropped off to one per county. The order was to take effect Friday.
“To limit ballot drop off locations this close to the election—and as voting has already begun—is voter suppression, plain and simple,” said Grace Chimene, LWV president. “In a presidential election year with massive voter interest during a deadly pandemic, Texas should be focused on expanding safe voting options this year. But instead of protecting voters and ensuring their safe access to the ballot, our state has erected new barriers for voters. It’s shameful.”
The order pertains to each of Texas’ 251 counties regardless of geographic size or population and, the litigants claim, would disproportionately impact the Black and Latinx communities due to their concentration in the state’s most populous metro areas of Houston, Austin, San Antonio. and Dallas-Fort Worth.
Elderly, sick, and disabled voters—the only categories of persons eligible to vote absentee in Texas—simply cannot risk deadly exposure to COVID-19 and must rely on mail or drop-off options to cast their ballot, the organizations said in a press release.
For Harris County,m with a population of 4.7 million and 1,700 square milew, the order closed 11 of 12 drop off locationThe most populous county in Texas, Harris county is the third most populous in all the nation. The organizations say it also harms “more spacious rural counties, like Brewster County on the Southern border, which at 6,184 square miles, is more expansive than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.