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Texas Governor Limits Voter Access To Ballot Drops — To Make Things Easier For Poll Watchers

Poll watchers have become a contentious element in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. Now, the governor of Texas is cutting back the number of sites for dropping off ballots, which could severely limit access for some voters. He says this is intended to help poll watchers and add to security.

Greg Abbott limits access for ballot return
[Photo by Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images]

According to CNN, a proclamation Thursday by Texas Governor Greg Abbott limits drop-off sites for mail-in ballots to one per county. The rule has the appearance of targeting Democrats, with liberals being more likely to choose absentee ballots, and to be concerned about mailing them while Donald Trump’s Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is in charge of the U.S. Postal Service.

To add to this, in Texas this proclamation affects a few major Democratic strongholds — such as Harris County, with a population of over 4 million and an area of over 1700 square miles, according to the U.S. Census. Harris County will have to reduce ballot drop-off locations from 11, across that entire area and for that entire population, to a single location.

In Texas, poll watchers are limited in their access to voters and election sites. KUT lists some of these limitations, including that a poll watcher must be certified, cannot communicate with voters, and cannot act on any violation they see in any way other than reporting it.

The president has already complained about poll watchers being denied access, specifically claiming that in Pennsylvania, where he does not yet have any certified poll watchers, to satellite election offices. According to the Enquirer, these offices allow voters to request and submit absentee ballots — and do not include the same rights for poll watchers. As Republican city commissioner Al Schmidt, who helps oversee elections, said, “We don’t give someone a poll watcher certificate to … watch somebody fill out their ballot at their kitchen table.”



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