NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) — The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with Republican Governor Greg Abbott and reinstated his order to shutdown dozens of mail-in ballot drop-off locations across the state of Texas.

The late night ruling means there will be a limit of one ballot drop box location per county in the state.

The ruling came just hours before early voting begins in Texas. The state joined many other states that responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by expanding early voting days and allowing those eligible to vote to either mail-in or hand deliver ballots.

Some Texas counties wanted to establish multiple locations for voters to deliver their ballots, but Abbott ordered a limit to one per county citing election uniformity and security, according to court documents.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had filed an emergency motion Saturday for a stay to block a district court order that would have allowed county officials to accept hand delivery of mail-in ballots at any county annex or satellite office.

“The district court’s order undermines our election security, disrupts the democratic process, and will only lead to voter confusion. It cannot stand,” Paxton said in the news release. “Mail-in ballots are particularly vulnerable to fraud. Protections that ensure their security must be upheld and my office will continue to fight for safe, free and fair elections.”

A federal appeals court granted a temporary administrative stay on Saturday that held Abbot’s directive.

Lawsuits were filed last week by several groups seeking to block the single-location directive.

Democrats, civil rights and voter advocacy groups say the order amounts to voter suppression. In a statement, Abbott said the order enhances election security protocols.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The CNN Wire™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company contributed to this report.)

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