Texas Republicans Finalize Major Bill of Voting Limits

As of May 14, lawmakers had passed 22 new laws in 14 states to make the process of voting more difficult, according to the report by the Brennan Center for Justice, a research institute.

In last year’s election, while Republicans won Texas easily — Mr. Trump carried the state by more than 630,000 votes and the party maintained control of both chambers of the Legislature — turnout soared in cities and densely populated suburbs, which are growing increasingly Democratic. In Harris County, one of the biggest counties in the country, turnout jumped by nearly 10 percent.

Republicans’ initial version of the bill put those densely populated counties squarely in the cross hairs, seeking to ban measures put in place during the 2020 election that helped turnout hit record numbers. The initial bill banned drive-through voting, a new method used by 127,000 voters in Harris County, as well as 24-hour voting, which was held for a single day in the county and was used by roughly 10,000 voters.

While those provisions were left out of an earlier version of the bill as it made its way through the Legislature, they were reinstated in the final version of the bill, though the bill does allow for early voting to begin as early as 6 a.m. and stay open as late as 9 p.m. on weekdays. It also maintains at least two weekend days of early voting.

More than any other state, Texas has also gone to great lengths to grant more autonomy and authority to partisan poll watchers. The observers have been a cornerstone of American voting for years, viewed as a watchdog for election officials, but their role has grown increasingly contentious, especially in Texas. Republican poll watchers have been egged on in particular by Mr. Trump, who implored them to go to major cities across the country and hunt for nonexistent voter fraud.

Across Texas during the 2020 election, there was an increase in anecdotal complaints of aggressive poll watchers, often on the Republican side, harassing both voters of color and election officials.

The new bill would make it a crime to refuse to admit the observers to voting sites or to block their ability to fully watch the process. It says poll watchers must be able to “sit or stand [conveniently] near enough to see and hear the election officers.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: