FILE - A sign is seen outside a ballot drop-off site in Houston, Texas, Oct. 1, 2020.
FILE - A sign is seen outside a ballot drop-off site in Houston, Texas, Oct. 1, 2020.

A ruling by a U.S. federal judge has cleared the way for voters in the U.S. state of Texas to have multiple locations per county where they will be able to drop off their absentee ballots for the November presidential election.  
 
U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman granted an injunction Friday against Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s order that there would be only per one ballot drop-off location for each county.  Abbott, a Republican, said the limit on ballot boxes was meant to discourage voter fraud. The order was made after the dropping off of ballots had already begun.
 
Pitman wrote in his 46-page decision, “By limiting ballot return centers to one per county, older and disabled voters living in Texas's largest and most populous counties must travel further distances to more crowded ballot return centers where they would be at an increased risk of being infected by the coronavirus in order to exercise their right to vote and have it counted.”
 
Voting rights activists have argued that Abbott’s decision was a move to suppress the vote.    
 
The U.S. has a long history of absentee ballot voting, but this year Republican President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers have vehemently opposed it.
 
It was not immediately clear if Abbott will appeal the ruling.  
 

What Happens Next?

What It Means to Become President-Elect in the US

In the United States, Democrat Joe Biden is being called the president-elect.

President-elect is a descriptive term not an official office. As such, Biden has no power in the government, and he would not until he is inaugurated at noon on January 20, 2021.

American news networks, which track all of the vote counting, determined on November 7 that Biden’s lead had become insurmountable in Pennsylvania, putting him over the 270 electoral votes needed to be president. Within minutes of determining his lead was mathematically assured, they projected him as the winner.

That is why news organizations, including VOA, are calling Biden the "projected winner."

Sometimes, in the case of particularly close elections, when news networks make this call, the other candidate does not concede victory. President Donald Trump has not done so, alleging voter fraud without substantial evidence and vowing to fight on. The president’s position has left Washington lawmakers divided, with Republicans backing a legal inquiry into allegations of vote fraud, even as they celebrate other congressional lawmakers who won their races.

When will the dispute be resolved?

The U.S. election won’t be officially certified for weeks. In the meantime, court challenges and state recounts could occur.

So far, the Trump administration has not provided evidence for any fraud that could overturn the result, but there is still time for more legal challenges.

Once states have certified the vote, pledged electors then cast their votes in the Electoral College in mid-December. Congress then certifies the overall Electoral College result in early January, about two weeks before Inauguration Day.