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Texas Dems Declare ‘Big War’ on Governor Abbott Over Mail-In Vote Restriction

Texas Dems Declare ‘Big War’ on Governor Abbott Over Mail-In Vote Restriction

HOUSTON – Texas Democrats are planning to take Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) to federal court over his controversial move on Thursday to shutter locations across the state where voters can drop off their mail-in ballots to be counted for the general election.

“We’re in a big war right now with the state of Texas,” Gilberto Hinojosa, the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, told The Daily Beast. “We’re probably going to be filing suit on that in the next day or so.”

Abbott announced Thursday that effective immediately until the Nov. 3 election, each county in Texas can only operate one site where voters are allowed to submit their mail-in ballots. Abbott said the move would “strengthen ballot security protocols.”

“The State of Texas has a duty to voters to maintain the integrity of our elections,” Abbott said. “These enhanced security protocols will ensure greater transparency and will help stop attempts at illegal voting.” A spokesperson for Abbott did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the potential for a legal challenge to the governor’s order.

Election officials in Texas and nationwide have incorporated ballot drop-boxes as an important part of their plans to make voting safe and secure in an election year that is expected to see record turnout against the backdrop of a deadly pandemic.

Some of Texas’ largest counties had announced that voters would have the option of using multiple drop-off locations: in Harris County, home to 4.7 million residents and the city of Houston, officials had set up a dozen sites where voters could hand in their ballots.

Chris Hollins, the top elections official in Harris County, said in a statement that Abbott was “going back on his word” to give Texas voters more options to vote safely during COVID-19, and that the county’s multiple drop-off sites had already been advertised publicly for weeks.

“Our office is more than willing to accommodate poll watchers at mail ballot drop-off locations,” said Hollins. “But to force hundreds of thousands of seniors and voters with disabilities to use a single drop-off location in a county that stretches over nearly 2,000 square miles is prejudicial and dangerous.”

The League of United Latin American Citizens, a national Hispanic advocacy group, also said it was filing a lawsuit, alleging Abbott was trying to “suppress the state’s Hispanic vote.”

Texas Democrats said that the move from Abbott is a clear signal of GOP fears that they’re in danger of losing key races in Texas, particularly down-ballot.

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