The Texas governor had previously ordered that each county have a drop-off location, raising concerns about voter repression.
A Texas appeals court ruled Friday that Governor Greg Abbott cannot limit postal balloting locations to one per district, which could be a setback for US President Donald Trump.
The Texas Third Appeal Court upheld a lower court ruling, ruling that limiting the number of dropboxes would increase the risk of voters becoming infected with COVID-19 and violating their right to vote.
Trump has repeatedly criticized postal ballot papers, claiming without evidence that they would result in widespread electoral fraud ahead of the November 3rd contest that competes with the Republican president against former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump won Texas in 2016 by nine percentage points.
Though a Democratic presidential candidate hasn’t won the state in more than four decades, opinion polls suggest that Biden could potentially claim a victory, partly due to voter dissatisfaction with Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor of Texas tried to make it difficult for people to vote with one ballot per district – even for districts with millions of residents.
To date, 5.3 million Texans have voted – that’s a whopping 60% of the total number of voters in Texas in 2016. Amazing.
– Brian Klaas (ribrianklaas), October 21, 2020
Abbott issued an order on October 1 to limit postal voting boxes to one per district, regardless of size or population.
The Order raised concerns and criticism that it would weigh on voters in larger counties like Harris, which includes the city of Houston and is home to a racially diverse population of over four million people.
Harris County frequently elects Democratic candidates such as Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
In its unanimous decision on Friday, the three-member Texas Third Appeal Court raised concerns that limiting dropboxes would increase waiting times and create long lines, which would endanger the health of voters.
Attorney General Ken Paxton said his office would “immediately appeal to the Texas Supreme Court” in a statement released after the verdict.
The Texas court ruling is the latest blow to efforts to limit voting locations in the United States.
On October 10, a federal judge rejected attempts by the Trump re-election campaign to restrict postal ballot collection in the battlefield state of Pennsylvania.