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.

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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.

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“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.

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