Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed sweeping new voting restrictions into law on Tuesday that target Democratic strongholds and disproportionately disenfranchise voters of color.
Senate Bill 1 takes effect on December 3rd and “restricts how and when voters cast ballots. It specifically targets voting initiatives used by diverse, Democratic Harris County, the state’s most populous, by banning overnight early voting hours and drive-thru voting — both of which proved popular among voters of color last year,” The Texas Tribune explained.
“The new law also will ratchet up voting-by-mail rules in a state where the option is already significantly limited, give partisan poll watchers increased autonomy inside polling places by granting them free movement, and set new rules — and criminal penalties — for voter assistance. It also makes it a state jail felony for local election officials to proactively distribute applications for mail-in ballots, even if they are providing them to voters who automatically qualify to vote by mail or groups helping get out the vote,” the paper noted.
Abbott, however, defended the legislation as a means of preventing voter fraud and protecting the integrity of elections. This approach is a tentacle stemming from former President Donald Trump’s ongoing “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen, despite all of the evidence to the contrary.
But Republicans like Abbott nevertheless keep insisting that voters – especially those who are non-white and registered as Democrats – are all part of a coordinated nationwide scheme to cheat at the ballot box.
“One thing that all Texans can agree [on] and that is that we must have trust and confidence in our elections. The bill that I’m about to sign helps to achieve that goal,” Abbott declared as he signed the bill. “The law does, however, make it harder for fraudulent votes to be cast.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.