In a proclamation issued on Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott extended early voting for the July 14 runoff elections so that in-person voting can begin on June 29 instead of July 6 as planned.
Under statutory regulations, early voting for runoff primary elections are supposed to begin ten days before the election day, but Abbott is using the emergency management code to bypass that statute in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
“[I]n order to ensure that elections proceed efficiently and safely when Texans go to the polls to cast a vote in person during early voting or on election day, it is necessary to increase the number of days in which polling locations will be open during the early voting period, such that election officials can implement appropriate social distancing and safe hygiene practices,” said the proclamation.
The special election for state Senate District 14 will also be held on July 14 with early voting beginning on June 29 as well.
All runoff elections in the state were originally scheduled for May 26, but they were postponed by Abbott in another proclamation in March.
Many local Democratic leaders have called for expanded use of mail-in ballots for everyone amidst the pandemic and have filed lawsuits against the state demanding that, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has opposed the measure.
Paxton and other Republican leaders have argued that an increase in mail-in ballots could lead to an increase in voter fraud.
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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.