Texas Gov.’s Move To Limit Ballot Drop off Locations Is Voter Suppression

A hand holding a ballot inserts it into a slot in a drop box.
A voter drops an absentee ballot into a mail box. Photo by Cindy Shebley.

Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) filed a lawsuit against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for issuing a proclamation that would dramatically limit options for Texas voters seeking to hand-deliver their completed absentee ballots for this fall’s election. 

In an order that is set to take effect on Oct. 2, 2020, Abbott announced that each of Texas’s 254 counties can only have one absentee drop off location, regardless of geographic size or population. 

This move has a disproportionate impact on Black and Latino communities due to their concentration in the state’s most populous metropolitan areas of Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas-Fort Worth. 

Texas is already one of the hardest places in America to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Abbott is intent on making it harder with an eleventh-hour change that will result in mass confusion and voter suppression. Election officials should be working to make absentee voting more accessible, not less.

CLC and LULAC are joined by the Texas based law firm Brazil & Dunn, and have brought suit on behalf of LULAC, Texas LULAC, the League of Women Voters of Texas, and two individual Texas voters. 

In larger counties like Harris County, home to Houston and 4.7 million residents, there are currently 12 drop off locations spread out over roughly 1,700 square miles. Abbott’s order would force the removal of 11 of those locations.

This is the third most populous county in the United States. But the move also harms spacious rural counties, like Brewster County on the Southern border, which at 6,184 square miles, is more expansive than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.  

Corey handles media relations for the CLC voting rights and redistricting teams and creates online content. Follow @cgfromdc on Twitter