Texas GOP passes voter suppression bill

Lina B.

Date published: Wed, 1 September 21

The Texas GOP has passed a bill that would raise voting barriers. The bill is a major victory for Republicans to further disenfranchise workers who vote for non-Republican parties. 

On Tuesday, the Texas Legislature passed the bill. The voting restrictions are part of a nationwide Republican push to tighten voting rules and change the way elections are run. This push comes after the 2020 election, where Republicans claimed mass election fraud. The bill is now meant to be signed by Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, to become law

NYTimes reports that the Republican target for these laws is Houston, an area dominated by Democrats. The county where Houstin is in, Harris County, is the United State’s third most popular county. 

The bill bans balloting methods that were introduced last year to account for COVID-19, which allowed voting to be easier. Drive-through polling places, 24 hour voting, and absentee ballots were permitted, but now banned in Texas.  

“It also bars election officials from sending voters unsolicited absentee ballot applications and from promoting the use of vote by mail. The bill greatly empowers partisan poll watchers, creates new criminal and civil penalties for poll workers and erects new barriers for those looking to help voters who need assistance, such as with translations. It requires large Texas counties — where Democrats perform better — to provide livestreaming video at ballot-counting locations,” reports the NYT.

Along with Texas, 17 other states have passed over 30 bills to restrict voting. Texas has been the home of a variety of different voting restrictions, all aiming towards disenfranchising Black and Latinx voters, specifically Democratic and non-Republican voters. 

Back in July, more than 50 Democratic members of the State House fled Texas for DC to delay the vote for the bill. Many of these members are urging the US Senate to act immediately. Although GOP members are claiming that the bill is meant to curb voter fraud, they repeatedly denied Democratic attempts to study how the bill would impact voters of color.

Texas GOP is joining a long list of states passing voter suppression bills, contributing to one of the most stark voter suppression and disenfranchisement periods after the Civil Rights Act of 1965 was passed.