Texas has 254 counties. Some of those counties, like Harris County, which includes the city of Houston, have 12 ballot drop off boxes for its 4.7 million residents. Some smaller counties have a handful, like four.
As of Friday every county in Texas will have just one ballot drop off box. One. Not 12, not four.
That’s a massive reduction in the number of boxes, and in the age of the coronavirus, in a time when many Americans don’t have money for gas, much less time or money to drive all over town to find a drop off box, exponentially reducing the number of drop off boxes is being seen by experts as voter suppression.
The timing is interesting – just as Democrats are rising in the polls and the average polling margin in Texas between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is now between two and 3.2 percentage points.
Calling them “enhanced security protocols” Abbott claims his goal is to “maintain the integrity of our elections.”
The Washington Post just released its analysis of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to dramatically reduce the ballot drop off boxes. As it turns out, the decision targets Democratic and non-white voters the most.
“It’s hard to imagine that this is an accident,” writes the Post’s Philip Bump.
“Regular Post readers will understand both that such ‘enhancements’ are unnecessary, given both the rarity of voter fraud and the breadth of measures already in place aimed at eliminating illegal voting. Regular readers will also assume that Abbott’s move is the latest in a long-standing pattern of citing alleged and unproven concerns about fraud as a rationale for limiting the ability to vote in a way that disproportionately affects Democratic voters.”
Voting rights expert Ari Berman calls it voter suppression:
How GOP voter suppression works in Texas
-you can vote with gun permit but not student ID
-no online voter registration
-must be deputized to register voters
-voters under 65 can’t use fear of covid to vote by mail
-only 1 place to drop ballots off in huge Dem counties
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) October 1, 2020
Former Obama senior advisor David Plouffe says it’s voter suppression:
Even the voter suppression is bigger in Texas. https://t.co/MXH4csMMFx
— David Plouffe (@davidplouffe) October 1, 2020
The Director of the Univ. of Virginia Center for Politics and political analyst Larry Sabato calls it voter suppression:
THIS IS DISGRACEFUL VOTER SUPPRESSION: Texas Gov. Abbott restricts absentee ballot drop-off locations (one per county) https://t.co/YzbdJ1mhs5
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) October 1, 2020
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