Court reinstates Texas limit on mail ballot drop-off locations

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 07: Voters in cars line up at a drive-through mail ballot drop-off site at NRG Stadium on October 7, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images / Getty Images)

A federal appeals court has reinstated a limit on the number of mail ballot drop-off locations in each county in Texas.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals late Monday issued a stay of a federal judge’s ruling on Friday that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s order is a likely violation of a voter’s right to vote. Early voting was starting Tuesday in Texas.

READ MORE: Gov. Abbott issues order limiting mail-in ballot drop-off locations to one

“Leaving the Governor’s October 1 Proclamation in place still gives Texas absentee voters many ways to cast their ballots in the November 3 election,” Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan wrote in the opinion. “These methods for remote voting outstrip what Texas law previously permitted in a pre-COVID world. The October 1 Proclamation abridges no one’s right to vote.”

Abbott’s order limits each county to one location in each county where voters could drop off mail ballots during early voting for the November elections. The appeals court, however, noted that the order also provides Texas voters with 40 additional days to vote absentee and they have many ways to cast ballots, including hand-delivering them or mailing them.

“These methods for remote voting outstrip what Texas law previously permitted in a pre-COVID world. The October 1 Proclamation abridges no one’s right to vote,” Duncan wrote.

2020 Election: Everything you need to know to vote in Texas

We have put together a guide with everything you need to know to be able to vote in Texas for the 2020 Election.

Abbott said the limit on drop-off sites is needed to ensure election security, while Democrats and voting rights groups, including the League of United Latin American Citizens, called it an effort to suppress voters.

The lawsuit challenging Abbott’s order was filed by the Texas League of United Latin American Citizens; the National League of United Latin American Citizens; the League of Women Voters of Texas; and two voters.

MORE:  Groups sue Texas governor to block limits on ballot drops