Restrictions limiting ballot drop boxes to only one per county in Texas were reinstated Monday night by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The three-judge panel sided with GOP Gov. Greg Abbott, saying that his concerns over election security outweighed fears among voters that the rule would prevent them from safely accessing drop boxes, according to The Hill.
When originally adopted, the one-per-county rule applied to every county in the state, ranging from rural counties with fewer than 200 residents to some of the most densely populated counties in the country, The Hill reported.
The three judges on the panel, all appointed by President Donald Trump, ruled that no evidence of voter fraud was needed to justify the restrictions meant to combat voter fraud, and said that voters unwilling to travel to the box in their respective county could either send their ballots by mail or vote in person, The Hill reported.
A federal appeals court has granted a temporary administrative stay, allowing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive for one location per county for ballot drop boxes to remain in place for now https://t.co/aRLT67k6AB
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) October 11, 2020
A federal judge in the Western District of Texas had scrapped Abbott’s restrictions in a ruling issued Friday evening, saying they increased risks for older and disabled voters throughout the state.
Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are both campaigning in the state, which has emerged as an additional electoral battleground this cycle. Though Trump beat Hillary Clinton by nine points in the state in 2016, he leads Biden by only 1.5 points, according to FiveThirtyEight.
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