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During the first and only vice presidential debate of 2020, tensions were high as Democratic candidate and Senator Kamala Harris, and Vice President Mike Pence took to the stage to discuss pressing issues including COVID-19, unemployment and trade deals with China.


Toward the end of the debate, Harris accused the Trump administration of voter suppression, due to its resistance against mail-in voting. Trump has previously said mail-in voting leads to voting fraud.

"(President Donald Trump) openly attempted to suppress the vote," Harris said. "Joe Biden, on the other hand, on that same debate stage said, 'hey, just please vote.'"

Pence was quick to deny the accusation, saying it was "not true."

"President Trump and I are fighting every day in courthouses to prevent Joe Biden and Kamala Harris from changing the rules and creating this universal mail-in voting which would create massive opportunity for voter fraud," Pence said.

The New York Times reports, Trump's claims about mail-in ballots being "very dangerous for this country," is false because voting fraud is rare, according to various studies.

Following the president's lead, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Oct. 1 that Texas counties must designate only one mail-in ballot drop-off location each, no matter how populous the county is. Texas absentee ballots must be postmarked by 7 p.m. on Election Day and received by 5 p.m. the next day in order to be counted.

Abbott claimed the limits on drop-off locations were necessary to ensure election integrity.

Democratic congressional committee chairs U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-South Carolina; and U.S. Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-California; and Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, have asked Abbott via letter to rescind his proclamation, saying it appears to be an attempt at voter suppression.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 35% of people will vote via absentee ballot this year.

Voting rights groups and some voters have filed a lawsuit to overturn the governor's order. But they'll have to move quickly before early voting next week, the Texas Tribune reports.

While people are afraid to vote in person in the face of COVID-19, worries that their vote will not be counted is deterring people from using the absentee ballot system, according to NPR.

Voters, voting rights groups sue Gov. Greg Abbott over order to close ballot drop-off locations (Amna Ijaz/The Texas Tribune)

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