Loading...

Texas Legislature Poised to Pass State Voting Restrictions

April 7, 2021 by Reece Nations
Fog enshrouds Texas Capitol dome on Jan. 8, 2019, opening day of the 86th Texas Legislature. (Ken Herman/Austin American-Statesman/TNS)

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Republicans are moving to pass their own set of limits on voting as legislation restricting early voting access awaits a House committee assignment. 

The Texas bill, one of 361 bills pending nationwide with restrictive provisions, passed along party lines in the Senate last week after hours of contentious debate. The bill’s provisions would institute limits on early voting hours, prohibit local election officials from proactively mailing vote by mail applications to qualified individuals and illegalize drive-thru voting. 

In all, bills with restrictive voting provisions have been filed in 47 states, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Despite the continuing trend of states advancing bills with restrictive provisions, only five such bills have been enacted to date, while 843 bills with expansive provisions have been introduced by state legislatures nationwide. 

Although Republicans solidified their control in both chambers of the state’s legislature in November’s elections, Democrats made significant gains in urban and suburban communities. Ultimately, Republicans sustained the bicameral majority needed to advance their agenda amid last year’s record high voter turnouts. 

Harris County was the only Texas county to create drive-thru polling places in 2020, accounting for around 10% of all ballots cast in the election. In November, a federal judge rejected Republican activists’ request to dismiss the nearly 127,000 ballots cast at drive-thru locations. 

Proponents of the bill maintain the legislation would certify the integrity of state elections by suppressing bad actors from manipulating the voting process. Its opponents, however, portrayed the bill as an attempt at voter suppression by stifling initiatives utilized disproportionately by poor voters and voters of color. 

“Maintaining the integrity of our elections is vital to preserving public trust so our democracy can flourish, and that’s why I have made election security a top priority again this legislative session,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a written statement. “SB 7 will strengthen the public’s faith in our electoral process and ensure that every Texan knows that when they cast their ballot, their vote is secure.” 

In his remarks on the Senate floor, Republican Sen. Bryan Hughes, said the bill would standardize voting rules by requiring large counties with over one million residents to distribute polling locations based on eligible voters rather than voter turnout. 

Although the text of the bill as introduced limited voting to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., it was rewritten prior to its passage to permit voting between the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Still, the provision drastically diminishes the ability for counties to accommodate shift workers as Harris County did in November by offering 24-hour voting periods. 

“These bills are racist Jim Crow-era laws and are an assault on our democracy,” Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the Texas Democratic Party, said in a written statement. “They have no place in Texas. We are grateful to the businesses standing up for Texans, for voting, and for our democracy. Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick are learning that voter suppression is bad for business.” 

Hinojosa continued, “Texas is already the hardest state in the nation to vote in. These laws would add confusion to a complicated process and intimidate voters from casting their ballots. Republicans keep putting up roadblocks to make it harder to vote because they know that when people vote in large numbers, it’s always bad for their party.”

A+
a-

In The States

December 2, 2021
by Reece Nations
Stacey Abrams Announces Georgia Gubernatorial Campaign

ATLANTA — Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams announced on Wednesday she will again run for governor in 2022. Abrams previously sought... Read More

ATLANTA — Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams announced on Wednesday she will again run for governor in 2022. Abrams previously sought to become Georgia’s first Black female governor in 2018 when she lost to current Gov. Brian Kemp. That election came down to the wire but Abrams... Read More

Student Kills 3, Wounds 8 at Oxford High School in Michigan

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school, killing three students, including a... Read More

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school, killing three students, including a 16-year-old boy who died in a deputy’s patrol car on the way to a hospital, authorities said. Eight other people were wounded, some critically, including a... Read More

December 1, 2021
by Dan McCue
Councilman Andre Dickens Wins Atlanta Mayoral Race

ATLANTA — City Council member Andre Dickens prevailed in a runoff election Tuesday and will be Altanta’s next mayor. Dickens... Read More

ATLANTA — City Council member Andre Dickens prevailed in a runoff election Tuesday and will be Altanta’s next mayor. Dickens came in second to the city council's current president, Felicia Moore, in a primary election in November that included 12 other candidates in a nonpartisan contest.... Read More

November 30, 2021
by Dan McCue
President Speaks of ‘Unimaginable Grief’ After Student Kills Three at Michigan School

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Three students were killed and eight people were wounded in an attack by a student at... Read More

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Three students were killed and eight people were wounded in an attack by a student at a Michigan high school Tuesday afternoon. According to Oakland County, Michigan, Undersheriff Mike McCabe, two of the wounded were undergoing surgery as of 5 p.m. Tuesday... Read More

November 30, 2021
by Dan McCue
Judge in Map Case Refuses to Delay North Carolina Primary

RALEIGH, N.C. — With a number of lawsuits challenging North Carolina’s new district maps still pending, a superior court judge... Read More

RALEIGH, N.C. — With a number of lawsuits challenging North Carolina’s new district maps still pending, a superior court judge has ruled in one case that there’s no reason at all to delay the state’s March 8 primary. The lawsuit filed by Common Cause, the North... Read More

November 30, 2021
by Reece Nations
Texas Land Commissioner Authorizes Border Wall on State-Owned Land

WESLACO, Texas — Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced a lease agreement on Monday between the General Land Office... Read More

WESLACO, Texas — Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced a lease agreement on Monday between the General Land Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety authorizing border wall construction along a tract of farmland owned by the office on a parcel of the border... Read More

News From The Well
Exit mobile version