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Late night court decision rules Texans will only have one ballot drop box per county

Some Texas counties wanted to establish multiple locations for voters to deliver their ballots, but Gov. Greg Abbott ordered a limit to one per county citing election uniformity and security, according to court documents.

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A late-night ruling Monday upheld Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's directive allowing for one ballot drop box location per county in the state.

The ruling from Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert L. Pitman came a day before early voting begins in Texas Tuesday.

Texas joined many other states that responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by expanding early voting days and allowing those eligible to vote to either mail-in or hand deliver ballots.

Some Texas counties wanted to establish multiple locations for voters to deliver their ballots, but Abbott ordered a limit to one per county citing election uniformity and security, according to court documents.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had filed an emergency motion Saturday for a stay to block a district court order that would have allowed county officials to accept hand delivery of mail-in ballots at any county annex or satellite office.

"The district court's order undermines our election security, disrupts the democratic process, and will only lead to voter confusion. It cannot stand," Paxton said in the news release. "Mail-in ballots are particularly vulnerable to fraud. Protections that ensure their security must be upheld and my office will continue to fight for safe, free and fair elections."

A federal appeals court granted a temporary administrative stay Saturday that held Abbot's directive.

Lawsuits were filed last week by several groups seeking to block the single-location directive, alleging the move would suppress voters.