The Texas governor has ordered voters to leave their mail-in ballots at only one location in the county before the presidential election.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said the move would stop illegal voting.
Critics have accused voters of repression, which in some cases means thousands of voters must go to a clerk’s office.
A few weeks before the election, counties are required to close any satellite ballot drop-off locations.
Texas is the second most populous state and it will be a big win for candidates in the November 3 election. The Republican state has been credible in modern presidential contests.
At this point many more voters are expected to vote by post or give up their ballots due to the epidemic.
Mail-in voting protocols vary slightly by state, but in Texas, eligible early voters may begin dropping their ballots this month.
Some of the largest counties in the state have already set up multiple drop-off sites. Harris County, home to the city of Houston and four million residents, must now close 11 drop-off locations, The Houston Chronicle reported.
In addition to raising the question of whether millions of urban Texans need to visit a single drop-off site, the move could also be problematic for rural residents across the state – making it the second largest in America by area.
The order will take effect from Friday.
In a statement following Thursday’s orders, Mr. Abbott cites Kovid-19 calling for strengthening ballot-security protocols.
“These improved security protocols will ensure greater transparency and help stop illegal voting attempts.”
Numerous nationwide and state-level studies have not revealed evidence of large, widespread fraud in postal voting.
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Texas Democratic Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa responded to the statement by accusing “fearful” Republicans of trying to change the rules “while on the verge of defeat.”
Hinojosa said courts across the U.S. had said it was too late to make changes to the election rules, “but our failed Republican leadership will try anyway.”
Harris County clerk Chris Hollins said in a statement that Mr Abbott’s statement caused “widespread confusion and voter repression.” Harris County, which surrounds Houston, is the most populous county in the state.
“Multiple drop-off positions have been advertised for weeks,” he said. “Forcing hundreds of seniors and people with disabilities to use a single drop-off seat … is biased and dangerous.”
Mr Abbott’s order also allows voting officials to allow poll watchers to stay at the drop-off site.
Poll observers are people who can keep an eye on election law violations at the polling station and during the counting process. They cannot threaten voters or talk to them.
President Donald Trump has called for his supporters to be turned into poll watchers.
It’s hard to comprehend how big the state of Texas is. The western counties are similar to the smaller US states. The Dallas-Fort Worth area has a population larger than a dozen European countries. It has an economy about the size of Russia.
Texas has the lowest turnout in elections in the country, with only 46.5% of the voting-age population voting in 2016.
Those figures will not improve with Governor Abbott’s decision to make only one ballot-drop-off seat mandatory for the county across the state. Traffic and density make travel slower, and outside the west, it becomes a burden in densely populated areas such as Houston, where spacious open spaces are the hardest.
The state has a strong voting system, but during the Kovid-19 epidemic the individual may be concerned about the ballot, preferring to limit exposure to endangered Texas.
Along with other Republican efforts to limit absentee voting – especially in urban areas with a democratic tendency – those on the left see it as an attempt to prevent their party from winning state elections, or perhaps even a vote. First Democratic presidential candidate since 1976.
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