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Bills to Restrict Voting Head to Texas Legislature

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Democrats enthusiastically embraced early voting in 2020, but legislation proposed by Texas Republicans would restrict it for future elections. (revuptexas.org)
Democrats enthusiastically embraced early voting in 2020, but legislation proposed by Texas Republicans would restrict it for future elections. (revuptexas.org)
 By Roz Brown - Producer, Contact
March 25, 2021

AUSTIN, Texas -- A bill to make it harder for Texans to vote in future elections is scheduled to be heard by the Texas Legislature today.

Senate Bill 7 would make the state's already restrictive voting rules even tighter.

Dan Quinn, senior communications specialist for the Texas Freedom Network, said the record turnout by voters in 2020 that nearly turned the state "blue" could be swept away and make getting people to the polls, especially voters of color, far more difficult.

"The last two elections have been very close in Texas, and I think that's one of the things Republicans are trying to move to reverse as fast as they can," Quinn asserted. "They lose Texas, they lose the country; the White House will be out of reach for them."

If passed, the bill would require voters with disabilities who want to vote by mail to show proof that they cannot make it to the polls.

Drive-through voting would be banned, and local election officials could not encourage people to vote by mail, even if someone meets the requirements.

Republicans who support the bill say they're trying to prevent voter fraud, although the Department of Homeland Security has confirmed no consequential voter fraud was found in the 2020 November election.

Quinn pointed out the proposed laws would make voting in urban areas, where people of color primarily live in Texas, more difficult.

"These are really focused on large counties with a lot of voters, and local folks put measures in place during the election to make turnout there easier," Quinn explained.

Quinn added a new analysis by Texas Freedom Network and Texas Rising Action showed turnout among young eligible voters surged in 2020 and became even more ethnically and racially diverse across the state.

In Washington Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Rules Committee held a hearing on the For the People Act, which would overhaul federal elections and expand voting rights nationwide.

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