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Abbott signs vote restrictions into law; Dems vow court fight

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law a bill that bans 24-hour and drive-thru voting, imposes new hurdles on mail-in ballots and empowers partisan poll watchers.

The restrictive voting measure adds Texas to the list of Republican-controlled states that have seized on former President Donald Trump's lies about widespread voter fraud and clamped down on access to the ballot box this year. Already, Florida, Georgia and other states have enacted new voting laws.

The election overhaul in Texas comes as Republicans seek to hold onto power in a rapidly changing state where people of color make up virtually all of the population growth -- and that growth is concentrated in large cities that tend to vote Democratic.

Democrats had fled the state Capitol in Austin for weeks in an effort to stymie the bill -- first preventing the passage of a similar measure at the end of the state's regular legislative session in May, then forcing Abbott to call two special sessions to tackle what the governor called "election integrity."

"It does make it easier and than ever before for anybody to go cast a ballot. It does also, however, make sure it is harder than ever for people to cheat at the ballot box," Abbott said at an event at which he signed the bill into law.

Opponents of Senate Bill 1 said its provisions will disproportionately restrict voting access for marginalized voters -- particularly people of color and those with disabilities.

The new law takes aim at Harris County, the home of Houston, which last year offered drive-thru voting and 24-hour early voting. The bill restricts the hours counties can offer early voting to between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. And it prohibits tactics like the ones Harris County used in 2020, when a garage at the Toyota Center -- the home of the NBA's Houston Rockets -- was among the venues used as a place residents could vote from their vehicles.

The bill also blocks counties from sending unsolicited mail-in voting applications -- even to those who are over age 65 and therefore qualify automatically to vote by mail. It also places new rules around mail-in voting, increases protections for partisan poll watchers and sets new limits on those who help voters, including those with disabilities, to cast their ballots.

Already, Marc Elias, a leading Democratic elections lawyer, has said the Texas law will be challenged in court.

"SB 1 is an appalling, anti-democracy effort by Texas Republicans to construct barriers to voting for people they believe will not support them," Eric Holder, the U.S. attorney general under then-President Barack Obama, said in a statement. "What makes this bill and similar ones Republicans are pushing across the country even more un-American is that Republicans are using the 'Big Lie' about the 2020 election as a pretext to support them. The reality is that these bills have nothing to do with election integrity or security, but rather are discriminatory measures making it harder for all people to vote. These bills will have a disproportionate impact on communities of color."

In part because Democratic inattention to state-level races has allowed Republicans to build majorities in legislative chambers in many otherwise competitive states, Democrats have proven unable to mount a forceful response this year to the tide of voting restrictions in GOP-led statehouses.

Instead, they are looking to Congress for action. In Texas, state House Democratic lawmakers left Austin and traveled to Washington to urge Congress to approve new voter protections.

However, measures to expand voting rights are stalled on Capitol Hill with Senate Democrats unable to break the 60-vote filibuster threshold -- and unable to eliminate the filibuster, due to opposition within the party.

"I was born in segregation," Democratic state Rep. Garnet Coleman said before Tuesday's House vote to approve the bill. "We think we've made progress, and then all of a sudden there's a new law that moves us back in time."

Republicans in Texas, meanwhile, said their election reforms were aimed at making it easier to vote and harder to cheat -- a refrain GOP lawmakers have used even though there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Texas.

"The common-sense reforms in this legislation strengthen our trust in the electoral process, from voter registration through the final tallying of ballots. Texans can cast their votes with confidence knowing that they'll be counted and reported accurately," said Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes, the provision's author.

CNN

Comments

58 Comments

      1. It’s that wannabe lawyer Charlie Dumbo. No evidence is needed nitwit. It’s to prevent it from ever happening. Houston is good example that tried to get away with it.

          1. 24 hour drive in voting, tampering with Texas election law and sending out absentee ballots to everyone unsolicited was the reason for the new law.

        1. No evidence needed??? That’s like saying to lock up someone to prevent him from committing a crime???? Even if there is no evidence against him. BIMP, you been smoking too many cornhusk leaves.

          1. You’re an idiot. Your problem is you are brainwashed by the leftist media meaning go back to MSNBC nitwit.

  1. To these Idiots the Election was rigged by dead voters, voting machines rigged by Martians who didn’t like trump, etc. Even if you give them all the facts, they’ll refuse to see them. Now, that’s what I call a Proper brainwashing by Trump and Co.

  2. Did you guys hear what Mullah Abbot the Taliban Propaganda Chief said today? Well…he plans to round up EVERY RAPIST in Texas so no woman can be raped and ask for an ABORTION?

          1. Only dumb to you nitwit. You’re just too stupid to formulate a good reply. Run along and play with children.

    1. It’s easy to round up potential rapists like Alberto. Just send the police to the Ridgemar Apartments. He will be the one hiding in his libtard bubble playing with himself.

        1. I’m smart enough to get you to admit you are that loser Alberto Velarde. That’s superiority nitwit. How about we meet at the Whatburger a few blocks from you and see who is superior for sure.

          1. It is a Felony to beat up an old goat at Waterburger, Burger King, or McDonalds for that matter. Funny! Stay home and type your threats online instead, Nitwit!

          2. You’re a chicken. Cheap excuse nitwit. You no showed with madmike. I don’t need to beat you up or get my hands dirty. CHICKEN!!!

  3. Look at poor commandante wanna be Larry Hopkins. Lol. They took his pistolita and now he dances for the Mexicans in a thong. Lol. That’s what Madmike and his little weak lazy me are afraid of. Hunker down buys and stay behind closed doors. Where you belong. Away from the civilized educated world. Lol. Stupid hillbillies.

    1. Look at your President senile Joe. He couldn’t defeat covid by July 1 and turned the Afghanistan withdrawal into a total debacle. He murdered 13 U.S. service members. Killed children in a drone attack. Screwed up our Southern border after Trump fixed it.

  4. Trump couldn’t fix a horse race even if the horse was the Secretariat. Worst, and dumbest person to ever hold the presidency and mess it up beyond repair.

  5. Billionaire, crook, thief, slumlord, Babkruptcy specialist, White Supremacist, Dumber than dumb. If Daddy hadn’t been Rich. He would be a Nobody. Too stupid to make money on his own.

    1. That Mango Mussolini Syndrome bothering you again? Stay on the sheet of music nitwit. It’s all about Biden now. You’re too stupid to make any money that’s why you are so poor.

  6. You are SO Smart that you are the Chase CEO. Aren’t you??? Riding the Gravy Train retiring from the Army as a Spec 4, getting Social Security, and a pension from the Alabama Sheriff’s Department. Yep. You are one successful moocher alright!

  7. Army Spec 4? Good laugh. I was way above your pay grade nitwit. Enjoying the good life as a tripper dipper. You are so smart you are dumb, poor and a loser. Alberto the real moocher and welfare queen has always been jealous of successful people.

  8. Register, get in line at your precinct voting location, show your ID, get your ballot and vote. The Republicans cannot stop that chain of events. Forget the bill. Its meaningless like the abortion law.

  9. Patrick Crucius could get out of jail on bail tomorrow and carry as far as Republicans are concerned. Meanwhile. Tia Lupe without a green card should be able to vote as far as Dems are concerned. What a crock. Be smart, extremists.

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