Republicans, no matter which state, know one thing: The more access people have to the ballot box, the less likely most people will vote for them.
The remedy to that problem is simply to restrict people’s access to voting. Republicans in Texas, following the voter suppression efforts of their colleagues in Georgia, have advanced a slew of new voting restrictions Thursday that limit ways in which residents can vote, including cutting polling hours and granting more power to partisan poll watchers, according to the Associated Press.
These Jim Crow-style rules are being introduced by a bill that was approved in the GOP-controlled state Senate. One of the signature rules in the bill would cut drive-through voting entirely. More than 127,000 people around Houston used this form of voting last year; half of those voters were Black, Latinx or Asian, according to Democratic state Sen. Carol Alvarado, the AP notes.
Harris County, home to more than 2 million voters and made up of mostly Democrats, includes Houston.
Here is more on Texas Republicans’ efforts to limit voting from AP:
The bill is one of two major voting packages in Texas that mirrors a nationwide campaign by Republicans after former President Donald Trump made false claims about election fraud.
Voting rights groups say the measures would disproportionately impact racial and ethnic minority voters. In Texas, which already has some of the strictest voting laws in the U.S., the proposed legislation grants more power to partisan poll watchers and eliminates the option to cast a ballot via drive-thru. The bill also includes a provision requiring a doctor’s note for people with disabilities who want to vote by mail, although Republicans signaled during the debate that language could change.
Trump won Texas but by fewer than 6 points. It was the closest victory by any GOP presidential nominee in Texas since 1996, underscoring Republicans’ loosening iron grip on the state.
The Senate bill cleared a committee last week following hours of testimony by voters. Some said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is forcing them to choose between their health and their right to be heard by their government after weighing the risk of testifying on the bill in-person at the Texas capitol, where masks are not enforced.
Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion, so this bill will surely pass. But local elections, including the governor’s race, are next year. Former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro are among the frontrunners expected to jump in the governor’s race, and they have legitimate shots at winning.
The state of Texas is certainly within Democrats’ reach. So, while Republicans are trying to stop people from voting them out of office, the power organizers may be too much for them to overcome.