AUSTIN, TEXAS — Today, a group of voting and civil rights organizations sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott demanding that he reverse his proclamation that closes down dozens of mail-in ballot drop-off facilities across the state.
The proclamation also requires early voting clerks to allow poll watchers to observe ballot delivery — opening the door to voter intimidation efforts that would disproportionately hurt older voters, voters of color and those with disabilities.
“Funneling voters to a single location, combined with the dramatic surge in the number of people voting by mail, will also likely substantially increase wait times and lines as people drop off their ballots. This, in turn, heightens the risk that such locations will become a vector for coronavirus infection, threatening voters and election officials alike, and violating CDC recommendations,” reads the letter signed by organizations, including the Texas Civil Right Project, the ACLU of Texas, and 36 others.
“The Governor’s last minute action, combined with the Attorney General’s campaign to intimidate voters from exercising their right to vote by mail by threatening criminal prosecutions, raises serious concerns about their use of voting laws for political gain. Governor Abbott must immediately reverse his order and support the efforts of county election officials to offer more voting options to voters in this final stretch of the election,” said Mimi Marizani, President of the Texas Civil Rights Project. “And voters must show Governor Abbott that they refused to be silenced. Make a plan and vote as early as possible.”
“This is a blatant attempt by Governor Abbott to decrease voter turnout by making it more difficult for Texans to cast their ballots,” said Sarah Labowitz, policy & advocacy director for the ACLU of Texas. “We won’t stand for this kind of infringement on our voting rights. As a Texan, we expect Abbott to know just how far people will have to travel now to drop off their ballot. Abbott should be leading Texas in expanding voting rights, not fighting with local leaders trying to make voting easier.”
Voters can find their polling location at www.votetexas.gov or call 866-OUR-VOTE for any questions on casting their ballot.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.