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Texas is latest U.S. state to advance Republican-backed voting limits

Stock MarketsMay 07, 2021 03:41PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An election official points towards a mail in ballot while scanning votes for the 2020 U.S. presidential election in Marfa, Texas, U.S., November 3, 2020. REUTERS/Adrees Latif 2/2

By Joseph Ax and Steve Gorman

(Reuters) -Texas joined other Republican-controlled states on Friday in advancing a slew of new voting restrictions, defying opposition from many of the state's businesses and adding to a fierce national debate over voting rights.

The state House of Representatives in Austin gave the legislation preliminary approval at 3 a.m. CDT (0800 GMT) on Friday after hours of debate before delivering final approval around 2:45 p.m. (1945 GMT), largely along party lines.

Members of the House and the state Senate, which passed its own bill imposing voting limits last month, will now work to reconcile the two bills before sending a finalized version to Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who has indicated he will sign it.

Other states, including Georgia and Florida, have also enacted Republican-backed voting curbs after Republican former President Donald Trump falsely claimed his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in last year's presidential election was the result of massive voter fraud. Republican legislators in numerous other states are pursuing similar changes.

The Texas House bill gives more access to partisan poll watchers and bars election officials from sending unsolicited mail-in ballot applications to voters, among other restrictions. The Senate bill includes limits on early voting and would prohibit 24-hour polling sites and drive-through voting, both changes that Harris County made last year during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sponsors of the bills said they are intended to prevent voter fraud while bolstering election integrity and public confidence in balloting.

"This bill is about protecting voters," Republican Representative Briscoe Cain said during the House floor debate.

Democrats and civil rights groups counter that there is no evidence of widespread ballot tampering, and argue that such legislation disproportionately burdens or discourages voters of color, as well as the elderly and disabled. Voting rights advocates say Texas already has in place some of the highest barriers to voting of any state.

"In short, this bill is nothing but voter suppression," Jasmine Crockett, a lawyer and first-term Democrat, said on the House floor.

On Tuesday, dozens of companies - including American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) Group Inc, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE:HPE) Co and Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) - urged legislators to reject any law restricting access to ballots.

Voting by mail, and early voting in general, surged during the 2020 election as voters sought to avoid ballot-box queues in the midst of the pandemic.

The Texas vote came a day after Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, signed a new law making it more difficult for voters to cast ballots by mail or to use ballot drop boxes.

In March, Georgia adopted a Republican-backed law that included sweeping new restrictions, sparking backlash from major U.S. corporations and prompting Major League Baseball to move its All-Star Game from Atlanta in protest.

More than three months after Biden was sworn in, Trump has continued to assert that the election was stolen. Courts have rejected those claims in more than 60 lawsuits challenging the results.

Texas is latest U.S. state to advance Republican-backed voting limits
 

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Comments (22)
Catholic Man
CatholicMan May 10, 2021 8:08AM ET
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You misspelled "Republican-backed laws to assure voter integrity".
Catholic Man
CatholicMan May 09, 2021 7:26PM ET
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I fully support Texas and their efforts to ensure election integrity.
Alan Rice
Alan Rice May 08, 2021 12:59PM ET
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Trumpublican "progress" : Return to 1949.
Aaron Chaff
AayAayRon May 08, 2021 3:22AM ET
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Everyone knows how racist the left is, but surely even the activist journalists who wrote this don't actually believe minorities are incapable of showing ID. Securing elections ensures that our votes actually count. So then why is it that only the left is opposed to stopping voter fraud? Kidding. Everyone knows why.
Steve Lora
Steve Lora May 08, 2021 12:12AM ET
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I want drop off boxes in every USA ghetto
Kevin Eddlemon
Kevin Eddlemon May 07, 2021 4:06PM ET
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No more cheating for the marxists. At least not in the great state of Texas.
Joseph Biden
Joseph Biden May 07, 2021 3:21PM ET
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Hello, I am Joseph Biden. I am here to vote. If you ask me for ID then you are a racist.
hannah bell
hannah bell May 07, 2021 3:14PM ET
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if you do not support mass unsolicited mailing in of ballots and other methods that will allow democrats to steal more elections, then you are a racist
Ad Cline
Ad Cline May 07, 2021 9:46AM ET
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this usn't about left or right. it't about about Trump who tried to steal an election with lies, and intimidation. who all his life has gotten away with intimidation and corruption, political bribery, running business scams, and when cornered, lied bribed and bullied his way out of trouble. his and his supporters actions in Georgia, Arizona, and the Capitol in an attempt to subvert American Democracy shows Trump's willingness to do anything to maintain power, even election fraud, inserection and sedition. all the mainstream media has done, is report his words and actions. Trump has voiced his support over and over again, of far right terrorist groups, and militias that support white supremacy, rascism and bigotry, groups that want to take down Democracy and the Constitution. On January 6 these groups were willing to help him in an attempt overthrow the American government, because he didn't like the election's outcome. The most scrutinized election in American history.
JE Sullivan
JE Sullivan May 07, 2021 8:03AM ET
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You can always rely on Rueters to bias political stories towards the left. Could it be that FL, GA and TX are really trying to clean up voting laws in their states, regardless of Trump’s sour geapes - of course not if yor’re a Democrat.
oeg vokar
oeg vokar May 07, 2021 5:43AM ET
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For poorly informed pro-Democrat..... Delaware requires voters to present non-photo identification while voting He or she must be a United States citizen Delaware does not practice automatic voter registration. Delaware vote mostly Democratic party and has huge black-American community. Apparently they don't fill restricted. Delaware does not permit early voting
Ad Cline
Ad Cline May 07, 2021 2:26AM ET
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I'm directing my last post to those people that believe the big lie that trump and his minions are pushing about the 2020 election.
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Ad Cline May 07, 2021 2:21AM ET
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more unfounded conspiracy theories from the tin hat far right. only people who support trump, who is bringing investigated for election fraud, banking fraud, insurance fraud and tax fraud, would believe these fake conspiracy theories .
oeg vokar
oeg vokar May 07, 2021 2:21AM ET
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How do you know it's conspiracy theory? Fact is Trump-Russia investigation was proven conspiracy...and no one call it
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy May 07, 2021 2:21AM ET
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To clear conspiracies, show ID, and prove Republicans were lying!
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Ad Cline May 07, 2021 2:21AM ET
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Russian. you might want to read the report. the report laid the the ground work for charges against Trump for a lot more than his attempt to intimidate the President of the Ukraine. there are documents that right now prove attorney General Barr lied when he said the report gave no evidence of wrong doing. the court that has jurisdiction has given the current Attorney General 30 days to release the documents to the public.... or not.
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Ad Cline May 07, 2021 2:04AM ET
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so far Daniel, there were 3 Trump supporters caught committing voter fraud. 2 voting for their deadd mothers and 1 caught by a poll worker the man was disguised, trying to vote as his son. Trump supporters will go to great lengths to get Trump elected, even commit voting fraud.
Rick Baier
Rick Baier May 07, 2021 12:21AM ET
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If the process of going to the local DMV an obtaining a picture I.D is to complex of a procedure for one to accomplish. I don't want that person voting for my future anyway.....
June Sullens
June Sullens May 06, 2021 11:06PM ET
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The media spent 4 years questioning the 2016 election outcome with no evidence and supporting democrat politicans who made claims with no evidence, even after a report that cost taxpayers many millions of dollars confirmed no foul play. Now the same corrupt media is going to spend the next 4 years covering up evidence and silencing those who question the 2020 election. They know they have lost the battle, which is why they are resorting to 1984-style censorship.
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Ad Cline May 06, 2021 11:06PM ET
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your post is false no mainstream media outlet spent 4 years questioning the 2016 election.
Adrian White
Adrian White May 06, 2021 11:06PM ET
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June, you are confused and misinformed. The outcome of the 2016 election was never what was questioned. What was questioned was the extent to which Russia tried to interfere leading up to the election, and the extent to which the Trump Campaign might have known about it or even cooperated. Furthermore, the results of the investigation were mostly watered down and hidden by AG Barr's redactions and biased summary. The only reason Trump was not charged with Obstruction of Justice was because he was a sitting president at the time. But plenty of his cronies were charged and sentenced.
Daniel Hodel
Daniel Hodel May 06, 2021 10:58PM ET
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The only voter fraud in 2020 was by republicans. Ask that Trumper in Pennsylvania that had his dead mom vote for the degenerate.
June Sullens
June Sullens May 06, 2021 10:58PM ET
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At least you help confirm for the rest of us how low of an IQ one has to have to support the democrat party.
Ad Cline
Ad Cline May 06, 2021 10:58PM ET
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June there is no Democrat party it's the Democratic Party.
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Ad Cline May 06, 2021 10:58PM ET
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June you know the party, the Democratic Party, that is trying to fix the damage and drain the swamp that Trump and his Administration created.
igor bogdanoff
igor bogdanoff May 06, 2021 10:58PM ET
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Ad Cline I'm not for one party or another but the Democratic Party just sells you on the illusion that they care vs. the Republican party that lets you know that they don't.  They both serve the economy first, please stop deluding yourself.
Charlie Cuomo
Charlie Cuomo May 06, 2021 10:55PM ET
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Go woke, go broke. Oscars ratings down 60% year-over-year, any sports that have gone woke have hit all time low ratings. Gillete lost billions. C.NN ratings at multi-year lows. Nobody believes the fa.ke po.lls. Finding boxes of bal.lots overnight, prolonged counting in swing states with boarded up windows, preventing ball.ot counting machines from being accessed by overseers. Now they want to send out unsolicited bal.lots in every elec.tion? You have to be a complete cl.owwn to see this is not the type of fak.e elect,ions that are typically just held in third world shh*hho*es.
Charlie Cuomo
Charlie Cuomo May 06, 2021 10:55PM ET
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sorry for all the typos, could not figure out what this site was trying to censor
Roger Miller
Roger Miller May 06, 2021 10:55PM ET
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Democracy oonly works when voters put effort into it, not only by becoming informed, but also in the voting process. Trying to make it easy only gives the unmotivated and ill-informed a vote, which ultimately destroys democracy.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 06, 2021 10:55PM ET
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You have to be kidding. We all have a right to vote, making it harder for certain people just shows how low the Trump/GOP have gone. It is truly disgusting. If you cannot see they are targeting certain groups then you must be a Trump cultist.
igor bogdanoff
igor bogdanoff May 06, 2021 10:55PM ET
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Chris Cummins Why isn't it racist when nearly every other western country requires identification to vote?
Aleksandr Rogovoy
Aleksandr Rogovoy May 06, 2021 10:48PM ET
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no evidence was taken by all corts so how you know there was no evidence ????
Charlie Cuomo
Charlie Cuomo May 06, 2021 10:48PM ET
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The media spend Trumps entire presidency questioning the 2016 election, but now they silence and ignore all the questionable activity surrounding 2020. What happens when the media takes its marching orders from the DNC.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 06, 2021 10:48PM ET
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Wait, so Trumpys cannot produce any evidence and that is proof there must be evidence...somewhere. Go Q!
Charlie Cuomo
Charlie Cuomo May 06, 2021 10:48PM ET
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Sending out unsolicited ballots? Democrats doing everything they can for their illegitimate vo.tes since they know they cannot win elections legitimately anymore. Even the Oscars ratings are down 60% year-over-year and 6 house seats flipped red, nobody believes the numbers for POTATUS Biden.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 06, 2021 10:48PM ET
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You ever see that Moscow Mitch quote where he told the truth and said if everyone in the US voted the GOP would be powerless. That is why they need these laws, you are a mastermind, a genius.
Edward Sims
Edward Sims May 06, 2021 10:45PM ET
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Democrats doing everything they can for their illegitimate votes since they know they cannot win elections legitimately anymore.
 
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