Texas governor Greg Abbott announced on July 27 that early voting for the Nov. 3 election will begin on Oct. 13 instead of Oct. 19. The early voting period will conclude on Oct. 30, as scheduled.
This change is similar to the one made to the primary runoffs in early July, in which Abbott moved the start date from July 6 to June 29, with an end date of July 10.
According to the Texas Tribune article, Texas House Democrats have recently been pressing for an extension for mail-in voting for the general election, which Abbott and other Texas officials have resisted. However, with the early voting extension, mail-in voters will consequently have more time to submit their ballots, even in person.
“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,” the article reads. “Abbott’s latest move expands that option to the entire early voting period.”
This announcement comes over a month after 15 civil rights advocacy groups sent Abbott a letter voicing COVID-19 concerns and asking for an extended early voting period, along with additional election-related requests that remain unanswered.
Abbott said that this extension will allow for more flexibility with voting and, in turn, help protect voters from COVID-19.
"As we respond to COVID-19, the State of Texas is focused on strategies that preserve Texans’ ability to vote in a way that also mitigates the spread of the virus," Abbott said. "By extending the early voting period and expanding the period in which mail-in ballots can be hand-delivered, Texans will have greater flexibility to cast their ballots, while at the same time protecting themselves and others from COVID-19."