In a quick turnaround, three advocacy organizations, along with two individual voters, have filed a lawsuit against Governor Greg Abbott’s order limiting mail-in ballot drop-off locations to one per county.
The Texas League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National League of United Latin American Citizens, and the League of Women Voters of Texas have all joined the suit filed in Texas’ Western U.S. District Court.
Issued yesterday, Abbott’s order countered Harris County Interim Clerk Chris Hollins’ directive to increase the number of locations at which absentee voters can drop-off their ballot.
The lawsuit alleges that the order “unreasonably burden their ability to vote.” Voters, the brief insists, were led to believe they’d have access to multiple drop-off locations.
“In the midst of an election that is already underway, forcing such new burdens on voters who relied on a different set of election rules to make their voting plan, is unreasonable, unfair, and unconstitutional,” the lawsuit emphasizes.
Further, they cite the First and Fourteenth Amendments guaranteeing the right to vote for all persons. Notably, the order does not eliminate all drop-off locations, just limits each county to one.
Still, LULAC alleges that the restrictions will effectively limit the ability for absentee voters to cast ballots.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a guiding opinion on the question, stating that nothing in statute precludes more than one drop-off location from being established.
Hollins said in a press conference Friday, “Changing the rules of the game at the last moment is confusing to voters.”
Coupled with the drop-off annex issue is that Harris County has actively prevented poll watchers from observing the operations at the additional locations. Abbott’s order required that locations receiving absentee ballots allow poll watchers to observe, but to that point, Harris County had prevented that.
Additionally, the annexes were used during the primaries, but those elections are governed by their respective parties rather than strictly by the secretary of state.
The lawsuit requests injunctive relief halting Abbott’s order limiting annex locations.
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.