sunny.png
Tuesday October 26th, 2021 2:10PM

New GOP-led voting restrictions pick up speed in Texas

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Republicans were moving closer Thursday to advancing a slate of proposed new voting restrictions that would reduce options to cast ballots, limit polling hours and hand more power to partisan poll watchers.

All those efforts are rolled into a single bill set to clear the GOP-controlled state Senate — a key marker in a campaign by Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott, to impose new restrictive measures over elections in America's biggest red state.

A first vote on the Senate bill was slowed by hours of questioning by Democrats that spilled overnight into early Thursday morning.

It comes after an elections overhaul was signed into law last week in Georgia, where opponents have already filed lawsuits and are calling for boycotts of corporations that are silent on restrictive voting measures. Critics of the Texas legislation say the efforts particularly target expanded access put into place during last year's election in Harris County, which is home to more than 2 million voters, controlled by Democrats and a key Texas battleground that includes Houston.

One measure would eliminate drive-thru voting, which more than 127,000 people around Houston used during early voting last year. More than half of those voters were Black, Latino or Asian, said Democratic state Sen. Carol Alvarado.

“Hearing all of that, who are you really targeting when you're trying to get rid of drive-thru voting?" she said.

Republicans rejected accusations that the bill was designed to suppress turnout.

“None of what we've discussed is voter suppression. And none of what we've discussed is Jim Crow,” Republican state Sen. Paul Bettencourt said.

A similar measure in the House chamber could advance toward a full vote as soon as Thursday.

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 Republican's 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.

Ofelia Alonso, 25, a volunteer with civil rights advocacy group Texas Rising and volunteer deputy registrar, said Friday she drove hundreds of miles from Cameron County along the U.S.-Mexico border, which has been hit extremely hard by COVID-19, to testify in Austin for the members of her community who couldn't afford the health risk.

“Honestly, because we all work doing voter registration, we know how nonsensical this bill is," Alonso said. "It makes absolutely no sense to criminalize people for wanting to participate in democracy, which should be our goal. It is almost like Texans get punished for coming out and voting in large numbers.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Online - Georgia News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Imprisoned Palestinian leader's entry shakes up planned vote
A popular Palestinian uprising leader imprisoned by Israel has submitted an independent list of candidates to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections
1:34AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Hats off: Donskoi scores 3 in 1st, Avs beat Coyotes 9-3
Joonas Donskoi scored three times during Colorado’s five-goal first period, and the Avalanche beat the Arizona Coyotes 9-3 in front of home fans for the first time this season
1:31AM ( 14 minutes ago )
India fights virus surge, steps up jabs amid export row
India is accelerating its vaccination drive by opening it up for everyone above 45 years just as cases spike sharply after several months
1:29AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Under pressure, some Ga. corporate leaders slam voting bill
Some of Georgia’s most prominent corporate leaders are beginning to more forcefully criticize the state’s sweeping new election law
12:30AM ( 1 hour ago )
Dems aim for July vote as Congress digs in on infrastructure
Congressional committees were laying the groundwork for a major public works investment even before President Joe Biden unveiled his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan
12:15AM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden to hold first Cabinet meeting amid infrastructure push
Joe Biden's first Cabinet meeting of his presidency will be used to promote his new infrastructure plan
12:12AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Biden announces huge infrastructure plan to 'win the future'
President Joe Biden has outlined a huge $2.3 trillion plan to reengineer the nation’s infrastructure over the next eight years
10:59PM ( 2 hours ago )
Gaetz staying on Judiciary panel, despite investigation
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, a prominent conservative who has been under federal investigation for a former relationship, would lose his House seat if convicted of a felony
8:49PM ( 4 hours ago )
Iowa Democrat drops bid for House seat she lost by 6 votes
A defeated Democrat has abruptly dropped her bid to overturn her six-vote loss for a House seat from Iowa, abandoning what loomed as a long legal and political battle in the face of shaky support from her own party
7:46PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
3 high school teammates become MLB opening day starters
Lucas Giolito, Max Fried and Jack Flaherty were teammates nine years ago at Harvard-Westlake, a prestigious prep school in Los Angeles
8:33PM ( 5 hours ago )
The power of touch: Boutique stretching thrives amid COVID
Pandemic-weary Americans starved for human interaction and physical touch are taking advantage of a growing wellness option once reserved for Hollywood actors and elite athletes: boutique stretching
9:51AM ( 15 hours ago )
Suns turn away late Hawks rally for a 117-110 victory
Devin Booker scored 21 points, Dario Saric added 20 and the Phoenix Suns held on in the final minutes to beat the Atlanta Hawks 117-110 on Tuesday night
12:55AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
Imprisoned Palestinian leader's entry shakes up planned vote
A popular Palestinian uprising leader imprisoned by Israel has submitted an independent list of candidates to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections
1:34AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Hats off: Donskoi scores 3 in 1st, Avs beat Coyotes 9-3
Joonas Donskoi scored three times during Colorado’s five-goal first period, and the Avalanche beat the Arizona Coyotes 9-3 in front of home fans for the first time this season
1:31AM ( 15 minutes ago )
India fights virus surge, steps up jabs amid export row
India is accelerating its vaccination drive by opening it up for everyone above 45 years just as cases spike sharply after several months
1:29AM ( 17 minutes ago )
7 Hong Kong democracy leaders convicted over 2019 protests
Seven Hong Kong pro-democracy advocates have been convicted on charges of organizing and participating in massive anti-government protests in 2019 that triggered a crackdown on dissent
1:22AM ( 23 minutes ago )
California office building shooting kills 4, including child
Police say a shooting at a Southern California office building on Wednesday has killed four people, including a child, and injured a fifth person before the suspect was shot
1:21AM ( 25 minutes ago )