Efforts To Limit Ballot Drop-Off Boxes Are Cynical Electoral Gamesmanship
On Election Day, there will be literally hundreds of polling places open in Harris County, Texas—which makes sense because more than 4.7 million people live in the county that includes Houston, America’s fourth-largest city.
But voters who requested absentee ballots will have to either put them in the mail or return them to a single location: a parking lot outside the Houston Texans’ NRG Stadium. That’s because Republican officials in Texas—like in Ohio and elsewhere—have ordered counties to have no more than one ballot dropoff location.
In a ruling issued earlier this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld Texas’ limit on ballot dropoff boxes and dismissed concerns about suppressing votes. “One strains to see how it burdens voting at all,” the three-judge panel concluded, since the allowance of a single absentee ballot dropoff box in each country does not limit other options, such as mailing in ballots and voting in person at a polling place.
States are allowed to set their own election rules as long as those rules don’t run afoul of federal protections against discrimination and disenfranchisement. Texas has not restricted the ability to vote, merely limited how much it will expand the availability of absentee voting in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal courts are right to be judicious about overturning those duly set rules.
Still, it’s difficult to look at the available data regarding absentee balloting for the 2020 election and conclude that these Republican-backed efforts are anything other than a cynical ploy to salvage an election that could get ugly for the GOP. In states that track the party affiliation of voters who requested absentee ballots, the numbers are overwhelmingly tipped towards Democrats. But re
Article from Latest – Reason.com