Early voting for the Nov. 3 election will now begin Oct. 13 instead of Oct. 19. The end date remains Oct. 30.
Extending the early voting period for the November 3rd Election to give Texans greater flexibility to cast their ballots, while protecting themselves and others from #COVID19.— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) July 27, 2020
In-person early voting will now begin on Tuesday, October 13 and continue through Friday, October 30. pic.twitter.com/aq7qHhw2xF
The extension of the early voting period itself is not a surprise. During a TV interview in late May, Abbott said he would add more time to the early voting period for the November election - like he did for the primary runoff election earlier this month - but did not elaborate.
Last week, Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins asked Abbott to provide more details so that election officials could have enough time to prepare. In a letter to the governor, Hollins requested Abbott move the start date to Oct. 13 at the latest.
For the runoffs, Abbott had doubled the early voting period, shifting the start date from July 6 to June 29. The end date was July 10.
Abbott and other Texas GOP leaders continue to resist a push by Democrats to expand mail-in voting. Democrats failed to convince the courts to expand mail-in voting for the runoffs but are pressing forward with their efforts for the general election.
But the Monday announcement from the governor gave eligible mail-in voters more time to turn in their completed ballots in person if they would like to do so. Current law allows those voters to submit their ballots to the early voting clerk's office in person instead of mailing them in - but only while polls are open on Election Day. Abbott's latest move expands that option to the entire early voting period.
In addition to the presidential race, Texans will vote Nov. 3 on Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn's re-election as well as a host of nationally targeted down-ballot contests for the U.S. House and Texas House, where Democrats are pushing to take the majority.
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