A federal appeals court has issued a temporary order that blocks Texas counties from setting up multiple drop-off locations for mail-in ballots.
The Fifth District U.S. Court of Appeals on Saturday granted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's request for an emergency stay of a federal judge's injunction that blocked Gov. Greg Abbott's order limiting counties to just one ballot drop-off location during early voting for the November elections.
U.S. District Judge Robert Pittman on Friday said Abbott's order was unconstitutional. Abbott's Oct. 1 order allowed only one mail ballot drop-off site per county, no matter its size.
Abbott was in Dallas on Saturday making campaign calls for local and statewide candidates and claimed he wasn’t suppressing voters.
“To be clear about the facts, I expanded voting in the state of Texas, did not contract it,” Abbott said.
Harris County had staffed 12 new drop-off locations for ballots and in Travis County it was about six.
Abbott says most mail-in ballots are mailed in and he sees no need for extra drop off locations.
“What my order did, it maintained the law, if you want to cast a mail in ballot, you can cast it by mail, or turn it in on election day to that one location, but I also gave them every single day during early voting to turn in that ballot. So unlike the law before, I expanded the time period where people could turn in a mail in ballot,” Abbott said.
The back and forth court debate in court has no influence on how mail in voting is done in Tarrant, Denton, Dallas and Collin counties. In North Texas, mail in ballots are dropped off at the election office or mailed.