With the election weeks away, many people are already waiting in line for early voting or participating in mail-in voting. On October 1, 2020, Republican Governor Greg Abbott issued an order "limiting absentee ballot drop-off sites to only one per county" in Texas. While in Georgia, a proposition to ease voting wait times was shot down.
Prior to the ruling in Texas, the use of absentee ballots was limited to "who are over 65, away from home on Election Day, ill, disabled or in jail." This essentially meant that granting any access to individuals not meeting these criteria was considered an expansion of voting rights, not a limitation, which is ultimately how the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
It is easy to see the other side of the issue though, especially considering that Texas is one of 5 states that require voters to provide some sort of excuse in order to vote by mail. Other states with these restrictions are Indiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Additionally, it seems strange that a national pandemic was not enough to be ruled a valid excuse by the court. It is worth noting that all three judges on the three-judge panel were appointed by President Donald Trump, who has consistently made baseless claims that mail-in voting results in fraud.
In Georgia, long lines and software glitches prompted Democrats to propose legislation to remedy these issues. Unfortunately, their suggestions to re-allocate voting machines and holding ballots for processing at less-than peak times was also turned down.
While a staggering 10 million votes have already been cast, it is imperative that each registered voter be given every opportunity to participate in the election on November 3, 2020. While the cases in Texas and Georgia were obvious setbacks, it just reinforces the need for citizens to elect officials that reflect the thoughts and principles they hold dear, particularly their right to cast their ballot in a convenient and expedited manner.