Update: After a motion by the Office of the Attorney General on Saturday, October 10, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of the lower court’s order, temporarily halting counties’ expansion of mail ballot drop-off locations.
A federal judge in Austin issued an injunction late Friday to enjoin election officials from enforcing a recent proclamation from Governor Greg Abbott that limited mail ballot drop-off locations to one per county.
This move comes after several advocacy groups sued Abbott over the order, claiming that it “unreasonably burdens” the ability to vote.
Judge Robert Pitman of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas agreed with the claim, contending that Abbott’s order “has already impacted voters or will impact voters” in several different ways.
Pitman contends that it has created “voter confusion,” and will also cause absentee voters to travel farther, wait in longer lines, and “risk exposure to the coronavirus when they hand deliver their absentee ballots on Election Day.”
Furthermore, he says that it will cause voters who do not return their ballots in-person “to face the risk that their ballots will not be counted if the USPS is unable to timely deliver their ballot after its been requested or unable to timely return their completed ballot.”
An appeal of the court’s decision to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals could halt the order, similar to what was seen earlier this year as a lawsuit over a temporary abortion ban in the state quickly made its way through federal courts.
The full text of Pitman’s injunction can be read below.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.