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Everything is greater in Texas, even the voter suppression

Voters’ rights advocates and others imagine the order is an effort to restrict Democratic votes. According to the Census Bureau, Harris County, which incorporates Houston, has a inhabitants of greater than 4.7 million individuals. Prior to Abbott’s order, the county had 11 poll drop-off areas, NBC News reported. Home to 25% of the state’s Black residents and 18% Hispanic, limiting poll drop-off areas to 1 area will end in obstacles for voters of coloration. 

The order additionally got here the identical day that Travis County—the place Austin is positioned—opened 4 drop-off areas to accommodate the rising demand for mail-in voting because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir known as the order “most unfortunate” and stated she plans to “challenge” the governor’s efforts to shut three of the Travis County areas, NPR reported. “I don’t know what is going to happen to the governor’s order until we get to the point that I can talk about it in court,” she stated. “In the meantime, I am still going to listen to what the county attorney tells me is the appropriate thing for the county clerk to do. And that is what we will follow.”

DeBeauvoir additionally famous that the order “targeted” city international locations, that are predominantly Democratic. “This is a deliberate attempt to manipulate the election,” she stated. “If the governor was truly worried about this, he could have stopped this program more than a month ago or contacted the urban counties that are all doing the same thing Travis County is doing.”

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Texas has over 254 counties, some bigger than a number of states mixed. As a results of the order, voters might should drive hours to a drop-off location. “Governor Abbott and Texas Republicans are scared. We are creating a movement that will beat them at the ballot box on November 3, and there’s nothing these cheaters can do about it,” Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa stated in a press release.

Because of the pandemic, most states have made voting by mail simpler, whereas Texas has made COVID-19 an excuse to suppress extra votes. According to NPR, an unprecedented variety of Texas residents are anticipated to vote by mail, significantly those that determine as disabled or are in any other case extra inclined to the virus.

“Going back on his word at this point harms voters and will result in widespread confusion and voter suppression,” Chris Hollins, Harris County’s Democratic clerk, stated on Twitter. Hollins criticized the governor for going towards the state’s promoting of a number of drop-off areas. “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.”

Abbott’s announcement rapidly garnered criticism Thursday with a number of organizations and Democratic leaders noting that they’d battle it. “This sabotage is not about election security,” Lloyd Doggett, Austin’s Democratic congressman, stated in a press release. “It is about Republican political insecurity. With over a month to return your poll, voting by mail stays the most secure method to take part.”

Voting rights teams rapidly filed a suit Thursday towards the governor’s choice and have been joined by two Texas voters and the state Democratic Party, the Texas Tribune reported. The League of United Latin American Citizens, the League of Women Voters Texas, and Texas residents Ralph Edelbach and Barbara Mason filed the go well with in federal courtroom in Austin. “In the midst of an election that is already underway, forcing such new burdens on voters who relied on a different set of election rules to make their voting plan, is unreasonable, unfair, and unconstitutional,” the plaintiffs stated.
The lawsuit is anticipated to maneuver rapidly as early voting begins in lower than two weeks on Oct. 13. “The impact of this eleventh-hour decisions is momentous, targets Texas’ most vulnerable voters—older voters, and voters with disabilities—and results in wild variations in access to absentee voting drop-off locations depending on the county a voter resides in,” attorneys for the teams argued. “It also results in predictable disproportionate impacts on minority communities that already hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis.”

According to The Washington Post, the order follows related laws in Ohio during which Secretary of State Frank LaRose restricted every county to 1 poll drop field. The order was blocked, leading to LaRose and the Ohio Republican Party interesting the choice.

But after all, as a substitute of realizing the destructive penalties the order would have on voters’ rights, a spokesperson for Abbott informed NBC News that the governor was increasing entry to voting, not limiting it. “Before the Governor’s executive order, Texans who wanted to vote by mail could either mail their ballot or submit it in person on Election Day only. Because of COVID-19, the governor’s executive order increased the time period during which voters can submit their mail in ballot in person to include anytime leading up to Election Day,” spokesman John Wittman stated. “That time period did not exist under current law. Moreover, the only ballots subject to this order are mail in ballots. Most of those ballots are in fact submitted by mail. The additional time provided for those who want to submit their mail in ballot in person is sufficient to accommodate the limited number of people who have traditionally used that voting strategy.”

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