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Appeals court grants stay to Texas AG in mail-in ballot case

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Signs direct traffic at a drive-through ballot drop off location at the Travis County Tax Office in Austin, Texas, on Thursday Oct. 1, 2020. (Jay Janner /Austin American-Statesman via AP)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal appeals court issued a temporary order that blocks Texas counties from setting up multiple drop-off locations for mail-in ballots.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Saturday granted Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request for an emergency stay of a federal judge’s injunction that blocked GOP Gov. Greg Abbott’s order limiting counties to just one ballot drop-off location during early voting for the November elections.

U.S. District Judge Robert Pittman on Friday said Abbott’s order was unconstitutional. Abbott’s Oct. 1 order allowed only one mail ballot drop-off site per county, no matter its size, which the judge said likely violates the right to vote.

The appeals court must still decide if it will grant a longer-lasting stay.

The order from Abbott dramatically reduced the number of places in Texas where voters could drop off mail ballots during early voting and most heavily impacted the state’s largest cities, which are also Democratic strongholds.

The move brought swift accusations of voter suppression from Democrats and voting rights groups, including the League of United Latin American Citizens, which filed a lawsuit.

Republicans say the reduction in drop-off sites is necessary to ensure election security.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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