Texas Republicans Finalize Major Bill of Voting Limits
In final yr’s election, whereas Republicans gained Texas simply — Mr. Trump carried the state by greater than 630,000 votes and the get together maintained management of each chambers of the Legislature — turnout soared in cities and densely populated suburbs, that are rising more and more Democratic. In Harris County, one of the most important counties within the nation, turnout jumped by almost 10 p.c.
Republicans’ preliminary model of the invoice put these densely populated counties squarely within the cross hairs, searching for to ban measures put in place throughout the 2020 election that helped turnout hit file numbers. The preliminary invoice banned drive-through voting, a brand new methodology utilized by 127,000 voters in Harris County, in addition to 24-hour voting, which was held for a single day within the county and was utilized by roughly 10,000 voters.
Whereas these provisions had been not noted of an earlier model of the invoice because it made its method by means of the Legislature, they had been reinstated within the last model of the invoice, although the invoice does permit for early voting to start as early as 6 a.m. and keep open as late as 9 p.m. on weekdays. It additionally maintains a minimum of two weekend days of early voting.
Greater than every other state, Texas has additionally gone to nice lengths to grant extra autonomy and authority to partisan ballot watchers. The observers have been a cornerstone of American voting for years, considered as a watchdog for election officers, however their function has grown more and more contentious, particularly in Texas. Republican ballot watchers have been egged on specifically by Mr. Trump, who implored them to go to main cities throughout the nation and hunt for nonexistent voter fraud.
Throughout Texas throughout the 2020 election, there was a rise in anecdotal complaints of aggressive ballot watchers, typically on the Republican facet, harassing each voters of colour and election officers.
The brand new invoice would make it against the law to refuse to confess the observers to voting websites or to dam their capacity to totally watch the method. It says ballot watchers should have the ability to “sit or stand [conveniently] close to sufficient to see and listen to the election officers.”
It could additionally make it simpler for partisan ballot watchers to efficiently pursue authorized motion in the event that they argue that they had been wrongfully refused or obstructed.
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