Monday, July 4, 2022

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July 4th: an opportunity to examine the state of U.S. Democracy in places like MT; disturbing bodycam video of a fatal police shooting in Ohio; ripple effects from SCOTUS environmental ruling.

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The Biden administration works to ensure abortion access, Liz Cheney says Jan 6th committee could call for criminal charges against Trump, and extreme heat and a worker shortage dampens firework shows.

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From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

Fallout from Stricter Laws Felt by Texas Voters, Election Officials

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Friday, February 18, 2022   

Across Texas, early ballots have been rejected for the March 1 primary, causing voter frustration when election officials explain they've failed to abide by new laws handed down by Texas legislators.

Requests for mail-in ballots were rejected at a rate of nearly 40% last month, while many ballots since returned by mail also have been rejected because voters failed to include a required driver's license or Social Security number.

David Becker, executive director and founder of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, said Texas ranks low for election integrity because of obstacles forcing voters to the polls on election day.

"And by concentrating as much voting into a single period of time, the chance for long lines, the chance that fraud may happen, or some kind of cyberattack might happen, having difficulty detecting it is increased," Becker asserted.

Becker launched the Election Official Legal Defense Network to assist public servants who feel threatened or intimidated with free advice and protection.

Becker argued his legal network for election officials is necessary because they report fear for themselves and their families.

"I can't help but be very saddened by the need for this," Becker remarked. "That a nonprofit like mine needs to protect these civil servants who have worked often in anonymity -- they don't get rich, they don't get famous -- to facilitate the voter's voices."

Texas is one of 19 states to pass laws in 2021 restricting voting access. Becker contended it makes it harder for a democratic election system which relies upon hundreds of thousands of Americans.

"We don't hold a national election. We hold 10,000 small local elections," Becker explained. "We have professional election officials, from liberal Democrats to conservative Republicans to everything in between, who run that system admirably."

Last week, a federal court ruled a provision of Texas' new voting law which makes it more difficult to vote by mail is likely violating the Constitution's First Amendment.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Disclosure: Carnegie Corporation of New York contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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