As with bills passed in other states, voting rights groups said the new provisions in Texas, if passed, are likely to disproportionately affect the poor and people of color.
“They intend to put in place voting restrictions that reflect the trends I’ve seen in Texas,” Gilberto Hinojosa, president of the Texas Democratic Party, said in an interview this month. “And all of them are aimed at minorities in the sense that they primarily affect the large urban areas in which most of the people of color live in this state today.”
“What they’re trying to do is create a system that doesn’t actually encourage people to come out to vote,” he said.
Republicans in the legislature defended the bill, arguing that it contained no restrictions on voting, and said it was part of a years-long effort to bolster election security in the state. However, they acknowledged that there was no widespread fraud in the vote last year in Texas, and the Republican secretary of state testified that the state’s election was “smooth and safe.”
“It’s not about who won or who lost, it’s really to make the process better,” State Senator Brian Hughes, one of the bill’s Republican sponsors, said in an interview this month. “We want to make elections easier and safer, and make them smoother.”
Briscoe Caen, the sponsor of the bill in the House of Representatives, said late Sunday that the bill aims to ensure that “the conduct of elections is uniform and consistent across the state, to reduce the likelihood of fraud and the conduct of elections, to protect the secrecy of the ballot, enhance voter access and ensure that” Count all the votes that have been lawfully cast. “
Voting rights groups have long cited Texas as one of the most difficult states in the country for voters to vote. One A recent study By Northern Illinois University, Texas is ranked last in an index measuring voting difficulty. The report cited a host of factors, including dramatic reductions in the number of polling stations in some parts of the state and strict voter identification laws.
David Montgomery Contributed to reporting from Austin, Texas. He also contributed to preparing reports Austin Ramsey And the Anna Sharafin.