Appeals court upholds GOP Gov. Abbott’s limit of one absentee ballot box per Texas county

As Election Day approaches, Democrats and Republicans have expressed widely differing views regarding provisions needed to allow voters access to the polls and safeguards against fraud.

In a federal appeals court this week, Texas Republicans earned a win with a decision upholding a limit of one ballot dropbox per county, as reported by the Washington Examiner.

“A duty to voters”

State leaders including Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton have joined President Donald Trump in sounding the alarm about the potential risk of fraud by expanding mail-in voting in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Democrats, on the other hand, have argued that voter fraud is an insignificant threat outweighed by efforts they believe will effectively suppress the vote of Texas citizens.

An ensuing court battle played out in Trump’s favor when a three-judge panel ruled on Monday that a single box in each state is sufficient for voters who want to physically submit their absentee ballots, the Examiner reported.

The ruling bolstered a statement released by Abbott’s office earlier this month.

“The State of Texas has a duty to voters to maintain the integrity of our elections,” he wrote in a proclamation he sent to Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs.

“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,” Abbott added. “These enhanced security protocols will ensure greater transparency and will help stop attempts at illegal voting.”

“Abridges no one’s right to vote”

A federal district court previously ruled that limited the number of boxes placed a “burden on an already vulnerable voting population,” according to CBS News.

The appeals court overturned that decision, reasoning that Texans have multiple voting options that did not exist prior to the ongoing public health crisis. For example, Abbott has allowed voters to submit absentee ballots prior to Election Day and has expended the window for early voting by six days.

“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, according to CBS. “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.”

The bottom line is that there are many ways for Americans to exercise their right to vote in this highly abnormal election year. As Trump and others in his party argue, the security of those results should not be sacrificed for the sake of added convenience.

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