Pitman’s 46-page ruling issuing a preliminary injunction at the request of civil rights groups did not speculate as to why Abbott ordered remote delivery sites to be closed, but the judge clearly did not accept the claims of the state that allowing more positions posed a threat to the integrity of the November 3 election.
“The reason offered by the state for the security of the vote is a pretext,” Pitman wrote. “The Court considers that the October 1 order does not promote the security of the vote.”
Pitman noted that the Supreme Court has repeatedly reported that, due to the potential for voter confusion, federal courts should rarely grant relief that alters voting procedures in the weeks leading up to election day.
But the judge said Abbott was the one who broke the status quo and said his actions were more likely to cause confusion.
“The October 1
“Governor Abbott’s unilateral decision to revoke his July 27 order after officials had already started sending absentee ballots and just days before early voting in Texas caused confusion among voters,” added the judge. . “It is clear that closing the ballot return centers at the last minute would cause confusion, especially when those centers were deemed safe, licensed and, in fact, advertised as an affordable option just a few months ago.”
Within hours of Pitman’s ruling, Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs filed an appeal with 5 in New Orleansth Circuit Court of Appeal.
Attorneys at the Texas Attorney General’s Office also urged Pitman to refrain from taking action in the case because of the parallel state court case that challenged Abbott’s move. But the judge said the urgency of the matter made it unwise to wait for the state court to act.
“The need to adjudicate plaintiffs’ claims is immediate; any delay risks an irreparable violation of the law that the Supreme Court has called” the essence of a democratic society, “Pitman wrote.