Texas lawmakers advance voting restrictions | TheHill – The Hill

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GOP lawmakers in Texas on Thursday advanced legislation that would impose new voting restrictions in the state, including limits on polling place hours and reducing options for voters to cast ballots.The bill, a key piece of legislation backed by Gov. Greg Abbott (R), passed in a 18-13 vote along party lines early Thursday in the state’s Republican-controlled Senate after more than seven hours of overnight debate, The Associated Press reported. The legislation in part limits extended early voting hours, bans drive-thru voting and prohibits local election officials from automatically sending vote-by-mail applications to voters, according to The Texas Tribune. The AP reported that the bill also gives more power to partisan poll watchers and requires a doctor’s note for Texans with disabilities who are requesting to vote by mail. The measure has received strong backlash from Democrats, who argue that it targets the voters of color who turned out in record numbers for Democratic candidates in recent elections.For example, Democratic state Sen. Carol Alvarado noted that more than 127,000 people around Houston used drive-thru voting during the early voting period in 2020, and more than half of those voters were Black, Latino or Asian. “Hearing all of that, who are you really targeting when you’re trying to get rid of drive-thru voting?” she said Thursday, according to the AP. However, Republicans have reiterated arguments from Georgia Republicans in the passage of their own restrictive voting measure law, highlighting that the provisions are meant to defend the integrity of elections, which former President TrumpDonald TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE and his allies repeatedly called into question in the 2020 presidential election through unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud. Texas state Sen. Bryan Hughes (R) when presenting the bill to the Senate said it “standardizes and clarifies” voting rules so that “every Texan has a fair and equal opportunity to vote, regardless of where they live in the state.”“Overall, this bill is designed to address areas throughout the process where bad actors can take advantage, so Texans can feel confident that their elections are fair, honest and open,” Hughes said, according to the Tribune. The AP noted that a similar voting measure in the Texas state House could move to a final vote as soon as Thursday, as well. The legislative push in the Lone Star State comes amid intense pushback to Georgia’s new voting law, which includes photo ID requirements for absentee voting, limits on the number of ballot drop box locations and a ban on people who are not poll workers giving food and water to voters waiting in line to cast their ballots. Many have called for boycotts against Georgia-based businesses that have failed to condemn the Peach State’s new voting law, which has already been hit with multiple lawsuits within a week of its passage.
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