Texas Republicans are looking to maintain their position of power in the least democratic way: by ramping up voting restrictions. These measures make it harder for people who live in marginalized or rural areas to be able to vote, coincidentally people living in those conditions tend to favor the democratic party.
A senate bill, SB7, has been introduced with some harsh voting restrictions, they were set to receive its first committee airing this past Monday but Democrats managed to delay the hearing until more public notice is given. The bill is part of a bigger bill package that looks to decrease voting access in urban areas that are primarily inhabited by people of color.
Some of the restrictions that the bill aims to pass include:
- Voters with disabilities will have to prove they’re not able to make it to the polls before they can get mail-in ballots.
- County election officials won’t be able to keep polling places open late to give voters like shift workers more time to cast their ballots.
- Partisan poll watchers will be allowed to record voters who receive help filling out their ballots at a polling place.
- Drive-thru voting would be outlawed.
- Local election officials may be forbidden from encouraging Texans to fill out applications to vote by mail, even if they meet the state’s strict eligibility rules.
Myrna Pérez, director of the voting rights and elections program at the Brennan Center for Justice expressed their disagreement with the proposed bill, “I think Texans should be really frustrated with their politicians, because it is so obvious that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to put itself in a place where its people are safe with all the challenges we could be expecting to be facing in the modern era, and instead they’re figuring out how to stay in power,” she said.