Larger counties in Texas chose to open these alternative ballot drop-off locations in an effort to address concerns from voters over potential issues with the U.S. Postal Service. A statement released by the governor's office said that this move was to increase ballot security.
The governor's order, also issued on Thursday, purports to enhance ballot security by requiring all in-person delivery of mail and absentee ballots to a single early voting clerk's office location. "Texas's 254 counties vary dramatically in both physical size and population", the lawsuit said."The use of county lines as the delineation for the number of voting resources that may be provided is therefore arbitrary".
The US Postal Service (USPS) has cut mail-sorting machines across the country and changed delivery rules in reforms that trade unions and Democrats say are also created to undermine the voting process.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it has not seen a "coordinated national voter fraud effort during a major election".
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo had called Abbott's action voter suppression.
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For Harris County, m with a population of 4.7 million and 1,700 square milew, the order closed 11 of 12 drop off locationThe most populous county in Texas, Harris county is the third most populous in all the nation. What we say to voters is you've got one location. Travis County, which includes the state capital of Austin, had four.
His office warned voters that mail delivery in Texas is now experiencing delays, and told them to consider that when voting. "If every voter only takes away one thing from today, I want it to be that your vote is your voice in our democracy".
Texas Democratic Party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said that Republicans were "on the verge of losing, so Gov Abbott is trying to adjust the rules last minute". "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".
He said courts nationwide have held that it is too late to make changes to election rules.
Voters are allowed to drop off only their own ballots and are required to show a photo ID and give their signatures at the location.
The Washington Post reported Texas Governor Greg Abbott stated that the single drop-off location per county was the best way to ensure "ballot security" amid President Trump's concern over the validity of mail-in voting.
Under Texas law, only a limited number of voters can vote by mail this fall: those who are 65 or older, disabled, in jail or traveling outside the county during early voting and on Election Day.