Gov. Greg Abbott extended the early voting period for the Nov. 3 election by nearly a week, his office announced Monday.
Under another proclamation issued by the office, early in-person voting will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, and continue through Friday, Oct. 30, 2020.
The governor’s proclamation also expands the period in which marked mail-in ballots may be delivered in person to the early voting clerk’s office, allowing such delivery prior to, as well as on, Election Day.
The governor says he is doing so to “preserve Texans’ ability to vote in a way that also mitigates the spread of the novel coronavirus. 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.”
According to a July advisory released by the Texas Secretary of State’s Office, voters participating in early voting are not required to wear a face covering, may not be prohibited from voting if they are not wearing one, and may be required to remove it to verify their identity when voting.
“There is no authority under Texas law to require voters to wear face coverings when presenting to vote,” the advisory says. “However, election officials should make efforts to communicate to voters that wearing face coverings is strongly encouraged, including through posted signs.”
On July 2, Abbott issued Executive Order GA-29, which states that “every person in Texas shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person who is not in the same household. ..” The governor has been sued over issuing this order, as well as for previous orders.
Direct Action, a political advocacy group, says that according to election law, if voters do wear a mask, an election judge may request that they lower them to confirm their identification when checking them in to vote.