Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is making some last-minute changes to the state’s voting process by limiting drop-off locations for mail-in ballots to just one per county.
The governor says his plan will help election security, but critics are calling it voter suppression.
“It smells rotten to me. And it’s voter suppression,” says Representative Celia Israel.
“No warning. Absolutely zero. No. No warning at all.” says Travis County Clerk Dana Debeauvoir.
Debeauvoir says this proclamation came out of nowhere.
“To interrupt in the middle of the process isn’t fair to voters,” Debeauvoir says.
Debeauvoir says Travis County had four drop-off locations in full-swing on Thursday – but now the county has been mandated to only use one.
“This is a deliberate attempt to manipulate the election. If the governor was truly worried about this, he could have stopped this program more than a month ago or contacted the urban counties who are all doing the same thing Travis County’s doing,” Debeauvoir says.
But not everyone thinks this way.
“I don’t think for even one second that Governor Abbott wants to manipulate the election,” says Travis County Republican Party Communications Director Andy Hogue.
Hogue thinks one drop-off location is more than enough to ensure voter safety.
“I’d just like to say that one vote being stolen is enough, okay? And imagine two or three, maybe 20, maybe hundreds. That can easily happen. Especially if someone were to set up a fake voter collection site. This is a pragmatic decision designed solely to secure the vote. And we need to take the governor at face value here on what he said,” Hogue says.
“Everybody knows somebody who’s been affected by this COVID situation, and if some of them choose to get a mail-in ballot, and they want to be extra careful and hand it off to a county official. The vote is so important,” Israel says.
In McLennan County, the Clerk’s Office says the Elections Office located at 214 North 4th Street, Suite #300 is the designated drop-off location.
If voters choose to hand deliver their ballots, they will need an acceptable form of photo identification. You can still return ballots by mail to the Elections Office.