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Texas bill restricting voting access heads to governor's desk

World Sep 01, 2021 04:30AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Voters line up at a polling station during Election Day in Houston, Texas, U.S., November 3, 2020. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare

By Brad Brooks

LUBBOCK, Texas (Reuters) -The Texas legislature on Tuesday passed the final version of a bill restricting voter access that sparked a weeks-long political showdown and is expected to be quickly signed into law by the state's Republican governor.

Both the state House of Representatives and state Senate - each controlled by Republicans - approved the measure that would outlaw drive-through and 24-hour voting locations and add new identification requirements for mail-in voting.

It would also prevent election officials from sending out unsolicited mail-in ballot applications and empower partisan poll-watchers.

Republicans across the United States have pushed similar legislation, citing former President Donald Trump's baseless claims that voter fraud cost him the November election.

Democratic lawmakers and voting rights advocates have warned that the Texas bill would disproportionately hamper voters of color, a charge denied by its Republican backers.

Drive-through and 24-hour voting were innovations pushed through in the Houston metropolitan area in last November's election, measures that local officials said drove the area's record turnout.

"You can say this isn't about the 'big lie' and all that. But it is," said Senator Royce West, a Democrat, in speaking against the bill on Tuesday. "This wasn't even on the agenda before Trump started talking about election integrity."

The bill's legislative approval came after dozens of Democratic lawmakers fled the state on July 12 to break the legislative quorum, delaying its passage for more than six weeks.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott pushed the bill. In a written statement shortly after it passed, he said the rules would make "it easier to vote and harder to cheat."

"I look forward to signing Senate Bill 1 into law, ensuring election integrity in Texas," Abbott said.

Senator Bryan Hughes, a Republican who authored the bill, rejected criticism that it aimed to suppress votes. He said Texas has more days of early, in-person voting than some Democratic-run states like New York, and his bill would for the first time allow people who make mistakes on mail-in ballots to correct them.

"Anyone who tells you there is no voter fraud in Texas is telling you a very big lie," Hughes said on the floor of the Senate. "We know it happens. The right to vote is too precious - it cost too much for us to leave it unprotected."

Democrats said that zero evidence of widespread voter fraud or enough to overturn any election was presented by Republicans in either chamber during debate on the measure.

State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, a Democrat, said the bill was the latest chapter in a racist legacy of U.S. voter suppression measures, which he said are rolled out whenever it appears minorities may be gaining power.

He said that is the case in Texas, where census data released this month showed the state's Latino population nearly equal with non-Hispanic whites, and forecast to surpass them by next year.

Democratic Representative Trey Martinez said those opposed to the bill would now take the fight to the courts.

"This law was written for one purpose - to stop certain people from voting," Martinez said. "The minute the governor signs this into law, it will be met with fierce resistance in federal courts."

Texas bill restricting voting access heads to governor's desk
 

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Comments (7)
William Smith
William Smith Sep 06, 2021 12:10AM ET
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The bill inno way shape or form limits voter access to Texas or U.S citizens. The headline is a 100% LIE.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Sep 02, 2021 9:00AM ET
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It does not restrict the rights of citizens.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 02, 2021 9:00AM ET
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it also did nothing to address any alleged voting fraud issues in Texas, because there weren't any......but of course you knew that
John Doe
ForexInsiders Sep 01, 2021 10:34AM ET
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You can lie and call it restrictive all you want. Anyone with half a brain can read the bill and see it actually protects voting rights. FQU Reuters
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 01, 2021 10:34AM ET
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"it actually protects voting rights"  -- how was voting rights in Texas not protected prior to this bill?  according to the republican Texas governor and AG, there were no systemic voting frauds in Texas during 2020 election and there were more mail votes in 2020 than all the votes in 2016......
Stephen Fa
Stephen Fa Sep 01, 2021 10:20AM ET
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lol. Brad is a leftist journalist to paint this bill as "restricting."
Josh Davis
Josh Davis Sep 01, 2021 6:10AM ET
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So i guess medical insurance, car loans, house loans, buying alcohol or nicotine, going to a bar, going to a club, are all of these also restricting access and being racist? They All have one thing in common all require photo id to obtain entrance or the product. Rueters with another hack job of journalism. Everyday you demean your own profession. Solid work
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 01, 2021 6:10AM ET
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you can make the same argument comparing these things to mask mandates and somehow  all the conservatives were yelling about their freedom being taken away by big government
Klaus Weyers
Klaus Weyers Sep 01, 2021 3:28AM ET
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has nothing to do with restricting voter access.. it is about voter identification and legitimation.. funny how the dems insist on vaccination ID and refuse voting ID..
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 01, 2021 3:28AM ET
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did Texas have a lot of voting frauds in 2020?  funny how Texas had more people voting by mail in 2020 than all votes in 2016, yet no one can identify any systemic voting frauds within Texas.......of course that didn't stop the Texas State AG to sue other states for alleged voting frauds occur outside Texas, and we all know how that lawsuit went in the Supreme Court.......
Bob Collins
Bob Collins Sep 01, 2021 3:28AM ET
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Tre Hsi there was election fraud by the democrats in Texas. Houston was one of the US cities that your friends, the CCP shipped massive amounts of fake drivers licenses to. They were used and drive thru inperson voting stations. Photos of stacks of drivers licenses on election officials desks are available online (where not censored by democrat media).
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 01, 2021 3:28AM ET
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Bob Collins  "there was election fraud by the democrats in Texas"  -- is that so?  if there were so much evidences of election frauds, surely the republican governor, AG, state election and law enforcement  offficials should have no trouble launching investigations and charge the fraudsters?  now tell us, how many investigations have been initiated and how many people arrested in Texas??????  funny how the Texas AG is so eager to sue other states for election frauds, yet so reluctant to investigate these "frauds" in Texas???
Bob Collins
Bob Collins Sep 01, 2021 3:28AM ET
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Tre Hsi  is a CCP plant. Ignore him. He's just a tool for the NWO.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 01, 2021 3:28AM ET
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so tell us, how many election fraud investigations have been initiated and how many people arrested in Texas??????  funny how the republican Texas governor and AG were so eager to sue other states for election frauds, yet so reluctant to investigate these "frauds" in Texas???
Casey Connor
Casey Connor Aug 31, 2021 9:25PM ET
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Democrats are the true biggots
 
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