I’m not sure if y’all knew this, but we’re in the middle of a pandemic right now. Look,I’m sure you haven’t forgotten this, but Republican lawmakers in Texas seem to need a reminder as they tirelessly work to prevent every effort to make voting safer during this unprecedented time.
Their latest target: curbside voting.
According to the Texas Tribune, Republican state lawmakers have filed a lawsuit against Harris County to prevent them from providing curbside and drive-thru voting to its residents. Harris County is the most populous in the state and leans Democratic. Curbside voting has long been allowed under state law to provide a way for those with qualifying health conditions to easily vote. In addition to curbside voting, Harris County has also introduced drive-thru voting that would be open to all voters.
Since this is a safe and efficient way to maximize voter turnout, you know Texas Republicans have beef with it.
Their lawsuit wants to shut down drive-thru voting completely and limit curbside voting only to those who have submitted sworn applications with qualifying conditions. One would think that lack of immunity to a virus that has killed thousands and has no cure would be enough to qualify but, come on now. This is Texas. It’s vote and die in these streets.
From the Texas Tribune:
The Republicans argue that fear of contracting the coronavirus isn’t enough under state election law to qualify for curbside voting. Their point is bolstered by a May ruling from the all-Republican state Supreme Court which said a lack of immunity to the coronavirus is not a disability that qualifies Texans to vote by mail. But Texas law differentiates between mail-in ballots — which must be requested ahead of time through an application under strict qualifications, like a disability — and curbside voting, which is requested onsite.
The Texas secretary of state’s office has repeatedly said this year that those who have symptoms or signs of the new coronavirus should use curbside voting. The office has provided placards for county election officials to use at polling locations that urge curbside voting for sick people or those who can’t enter a polling place without the “likelihood of injuring your health.”
During the pandemic, Harris County has often led a push to expand voting options, and Republican officials have sought to block those efforts. The county sought to send mail-in ballot applications to all registered voters, which was targeted by Texas Republicans and knocked down by the state Supreme Court, which ruled the move an overstep of county official authority.
This lack of desire to expand the voting process has been seen statewide, as no notable moves have been made to account for the pandemic. Sure, the state’s Republican Gov. Greg Abbot extended the early voting timeline by six days, but he also limited ballot drop boxes to just one per county.
It’s almost like the party that won’t shut the fuck up about “constitutional rights” doesn’t actually care about constitutional rights. Who would’ve thought?