Texas elections overhaul heads to Abbott’s desk — security or voting restriction for people of color?

State & Regional

In this Nexstar Media Group file photo, flags are seen outside the Texas Capitol in Austin. (Nexstar Media Group/Wes Rapaport/EverythingLubbock.com File Photo)

AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — Very early Sunday morning, the Texas Senate voted to approve a bill that would overhaul voting rules in the Lone Star State. Now, it heads to the desk of Governor Greg Abbott to be signed into law.

Senate Bill 7 will make several changes to voter registration, voting by mail, early voting and ballot counting.

Republican lawmakers in Texas have pushed the legislation. It comes amid a nationwide push by the GOP to crack down on alleged voter fraud. Major parts of the “election security” of the bill include a requirement to live stream counting of ballots and verification of signatures.

Earlier this week, and throughout the legislative session, Abbott has stressed urgency in securing Texas’ elections. Although there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 Election, Abbott nonetheless has made laws like SB 7 emergency priority.

SB 7 would create the these changes:

  • Ban mail-in ballot drop boxes
  • Ban most drive-thru voting
  • Limit extended early voting hours
  • Require voters with disabilities to prove they can’t get to polls in order to get mail-in ballots
  • Allow partisan poll watchers to record voters who receive help filling out their ballots
  • Forbid local election officials from encouraging voters to fill out applications to vote by mail — even if they qualify

But President Joe Biden has called the bill an attempt at voter restriction, saying in part:

“It’s part of an assault on democracy that we’ve seen far too often this year — and often disproportionately targeting Black and Brown Americans. In the 21st century, we should be making it easier, not harder, for every eligible voter to vote.”

President Joe Biden

KXAN will update this story with more information as it becomes available.

(Information from KXAN.com)

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