- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered some ballot drop-off locations in the state to close.
- The move limits each county to just one location for people who are dropping off their absentee ballots.
- Abbott's proclamation comes about a month before the presidential elections on November 3.
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered some ballot drop-off locations in the state to close, limiting each county to just one and potentially complicating the ability of some citizens in the state to deliver their ballots in time for the general election.
Abbott's order also requires poll watchers "to observe any activity conducted at the early voting clerk's office location related to the in-person delivery of a marked mail ballot."
The move comes about a month before the presidential elections on November 3.
"The State of Texas has a duty to voters to maintain the integrity of our elections," Abbott said in the proclamation.
"As we work to preserve Texans' ability to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must take extra care to strengthen ballot security protocols throughout the state. These enhanced security protocols will ensure greater transparency and will help stop attempts at illegal voting."
President Donald Trump has repeatedly made false statements that mail-in ballots are vulnerable to fraud. During the first presidential debate on Tuesday, Trump again called on his supporters to monitor the polls.
Abbott's proclamation also modifies part of a July 27 order which added six days of early absentee voting due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
CNN reported the proclamation significantly impacts Harris County, a Democratic stronghold in Texas, and the most populous county in the state.
Starting Friday, the county will lose 10 of its ballot drop-off locations.
The state's Democratic party chair, Gilberto Hinojosa called the move a "blatant voter-suppression tactic."
"Republicans are on the verge of losing, so Governor Abbott is trying to adjust the rules last minute. Courts all over the country, including the Fifth Circuit yesterday, have held that it is too late to change election rules, but our failed Republican leadership will try anyway. Make no mistake, Democracy itself is on the ballot. Every Texan must get out and vote these cowards out!" Hinojosa said, in a press release.
Sarah Labowitz, a policy and advocacy director at the ACLU of Texas, told NBC News that Abbott's action "stymies the vote."
"The governor should work with counties to ensure that all timely mailed ballots are received and counted, and that all voters appearing at polling places to submit ballots or vote are free from harassment," Labowitz said.
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