Gov. Abbott Issues Proclamation Enhancing Ballot Security [Update]

John Parsons, Editor

Updated 10/13/2020: A three-judge panel on the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Gov. Abbott’s order.

 

Updated 10/10/2020: A federal judge has ruled that this directive “likely violates their fundamental right to vote under the First and Fourteenth Amendments,” according to CNN.com.

“Judge Robert Pitman agreed [with the plaintiffs], writing, ‘By limiting ballot return centers to one per county, older and disabled voters living in Texas’s largest and most populous counties must travel further distances to more crowded ballot return centers where they would be at an increased risk of being infected by the coronavirus in order to exercise their right to vote and have it counted.’”

 

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation enhancing ballot security protocols Oct. 1 for the in-person delivery of marked mail ballots for the Nov. 3 general and special elections according to a press release. 

Under this proclamation, beginning Oct. 2, mail ballots that are delivered in person by voters who are eligible to vote by mail must be delivered to a single early voting clerk’s office location as publicly designated by a county’s early voting clerk such that this may be done prior to and including on election day.

The proclamation also requires early voting clerks to allow poll watchers to observe any activity conducted at the early voting clerk’s office location related to the in-person delivery of a marked mail ballot. 

This proclamation amends a July 27 proclamation that extended the period in which marked mail-in ballots may be delivered in person.

“The State of Texas has a duty to voters to maintain the integrity of our elections,” Abbott said. “As we work to preserve Texans’ ability to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must take extra care to strengthen ballot security protocols throughout the state. These enhanced security protocols will ensure greater transparency and will help stop attempts at illegal voting.”

This proclamation continues the governor’s March 13 proclamation that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) poses an imminent threat of disaster for all counties in the State of Texas.