Texas Republicans Finalize Major Bill of Voting Limits

In March, Keith Ingram, the director of elections in the Texas secretary of state’s office, testified that last year’s election in the state had been “smooth and secure.” He added, “Texans can be justifiably proud of the hard work and creativity shown by local county elections officials.”

Nonetheless, the bill includes a provision that could make overturning an election easier. Previously, Texas election law had stated that reversing the results of an election because of fraud accusations required proving that illicit votes had actually resulted in a wrongful victory. If the bill passes, the number of fraudulent votes required to do so would simply need to be equal to the winning vote differential; it would not matter for whom the fraudulent votes had been cast.

A day before the Texas bill emerged, a new report pointed to the vast sweep of Republicans’ nationwide effort to restrict voting.

As of May 14, lawmakers had passed 22 new laws in 14 states to make the process of voting more difficult, according to the report by the Brennan Center for Justice, a research institute.

In last year’s election, while Republicans won Texas easily — Mr. Trump carried the state by more than 630,000 votes and the party maintained control of both chambers of the Legislature — turnout soared in cities and densely populated suburbs, which are growing increasingly Democratic. In Harris County, one of the biggest counties in the country, turnout jumped by nearly 10 percent.

Republicans’ initial version of the bill put those densely populated counties squarely in the cross hairs, seeking to ban measures put in place during the 2020 election that helped turnout hit record numbers. The initial bill banned drive-through voting, a new method used by 127,000 voters in Harris County, as well as 24-hour voting, which was held for a single day in the county and was used by roughly 10,000 voters.

While those provisions were left out of an earlier version of the bill as it made its way through the Legislature, they were reinstated in the final version of the bill, though the bill does allow for early voting to begin as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 9 p.m. on weekdays. It also maintains at least two weekend days of early voting.

(With inputs from NYTimes)

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