AUSTIN, Texas — A group of Texas state representatives is urging Gov. Greg Abbott to extend the deadline for receiving mail-in ballots that are postmarked by Nov. 3 up to seven days after the election.
In a letter to Gov. Abbott, state Rep. John Bucy III of Cedar Park cites an uptick in demand for mail-in voting and worries a "reduction in capacity from the Postal Service to meet the need would only further exacerbate an already tenuous situation and undoubtedly have an outsized impact on the November election."
Rep. Bucy's letter comes nearly a month after the USPS General Counsel and Executive President Thomas J. Marshall sent Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs a letter warning the state's deadline for requesting and casting mail-in ballots may not give enough time to ensure the ballot's arrival.
On Saturday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would provide the USPS about $25 billion to reverse recent changes made by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
Those changes included cuts to mailboxes and sorting machines nationwide, including sorting machines in the Austin area.
The legislation will likely stall in the Republican-led U.S. Senate, and President Donald Trump has said he would veto it.
"The Postal Service's so-called cost-savings measures and restructuring cannot be permitted to disenfranchise Texans, many of whom already face substantial barriers to exercising their right to vote," Rep. Bucy wrote.
Rep. Bucy, along with 59 other state representatives who signed his letter, urges Gov. Abbott to do the following:
- Extend the deadline for a mail-in ballot that is postmarked by Nov. 3 to be received up to seven days post-election
- Permit a voter to turn in their mail-in ballot at any polling place during early voting or on Election Day
- Direct the Secretary of State to provide funds to counties to use First Class Mailings for ballot materials
- Direct the Secretary of State to update procedures and provide any needed training for poll workers
- Temporarily waive the requirement to submit a hard copy of the application for a ballot by mail
In Texas, the last day to turn in a ballot by mail is on Election Day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. if the ballot isn't postmarked, or Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 5 p.m. if the ballot is postmarked by 7 p.m. at the location of the election on Election Day. The deadline for mail-in ballots for military and overseas voters is Monday, Nov. 9, at 5 p.m.
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