Outrage, lawsuits follow governor’s ballot-dropbox ban

Published 12:30 am Wednesday, October 7, 2020

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By Roz Brown

Texas News Service

AUSTIN, Texas — The head of the Texas League of Women Voters does not think a last-minute directive to limit ballot dropboxes will stop residents from voting on Nov. 3.

Two separate federal lawsuits have been filed to overturn an executive order issued last Thursday by Gov. Greg Abbott that restricts ballot dropboxes to one per county.

Those using dropboxes for absentee ballots are likely to be elderly voters or people with disabilities who are trying to avoid exposure to COVID-19.

Grace Chimene, president of the League of Women Voters Texas, called the governor’s actions “a perfect example of voter suppression.”

“It’s an example of voter suppression of people who have disabilities, and people over 65, it impacts people of color, poor people with no transportation to get to this one site,” Chimene argued.

Chimene said for many rural counties, one dropbox is plenty, but a single box in a huge county such as Harris will create long drive times, traffic congestion and parking issues.

The governor has said his order will enhance ballot security and prevent voter fraud.

The League Of Women Voters of Texas is represented by the Campaign Legal Center in challenging the governor’s directive.

In Harris County, where ballot dropboxes will be reduced from 12 to one, more than 40% of residents are Latino and nearly 20% are Black.

Chimene believes the governor’s order will backfire because voters will be even more determined to take part in the democratic process.

“I don’t think the voters of Texas are going to throw up their hands,” Chimene asserted. “I think this makes the voters of Texas angry, and that there is nothing that is going to stop them from voting in this election.”

Abbott expanded early voting by six days, but others in his party are suing to prevent that expansion. State Republicans also have successfully blocked Democrats’ attempts to expand mail-in voting.

 Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.