(KPRC/NBC News) Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an order Thursday that limits the number of places voters can drop-off their mail-in ballots to one per county.
The order also requires clerks to allow poll watchers to observe activity conducted at the drop-off location related to the delivery of marked mail ballots.
“As we work to preserve Texans’ ability to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must take extra care to strengthen ballot security protocols throughout the state,” Abbott said in a written statement. “These enhanced security protocols will ensure greater transparency and will help stop attempts at illegal voting.”
The governor’s order is effective Friday.
The Harris County Clerk’s Office has originally planned to allow voters to drop off their completed mail-in ballots at any of the Harris County Clerk Annex locations and NRG Arena.
After Abbott’s order on limiting mail-in ballot drop-off locations, Democratic leaders described the restriction as voter suppression.
Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins said the governor’s “previous previous proclamation gave voters more options to vote safely during the global pandemic and alleviated concerns over mail delivery to ensure that every vote is counted.”
In a series of tweets Thursday, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said: “This isn’t security, it’s suppression.” She said voters shouldn’t have to drive 30 miles to drop off their mail-in ballots or rely on a mail system that’s facing cutbacks.
“This has nothing to do with election security, because ballot drop sites require photo ID,” she said.
Hidalgo continued: “A political party whose election strategy is to suppress turnout doesn’t deserve to win.”
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