Texas Voting Bill Nears Passage as Republicans Advance It

The bill includes new restrictions on absentee voting; grants broad new autonomy and authority to partisan poll watchers; escalates punis...


The bill includes new restrictions on absentee voting; grants broad new autonomy and authority to partisan poll watchers; escalates punishments for mistakes or offenses by election officials; and bans both drive-through voting and 24-hour voting, which were used for the first time during the 2020 election in Harris County, home to Houston and a growing number of the state’s Democratic voters.

The bill in Texas, a major state with a booming population, represents the apex of the national Republican push to install tall new barriers to voting after President Donald J. Trump’s loss last year to Joseph R. Biden Jr., with expansive restrictions already becoming law in Iowa, Georgia and Florida in 2021. Fueled by Mr. Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud in the election, Republicans have passed the bills almost entirely along partisan lines, brushing off the protestations of Democrats, civil rights groups, voting rights groups, major corporations and faith leaders.

President Biden and key Democrats in Congress are confronting rising calls from their party to do whatever is needed — including abolishing the Senate filibuster, which moderate senators have resisted — to push through a major voting rights and elections overhaul that would counteract the wave of Republican laws. After the Texas bill became public on Saturday, Mr. Biden denounced it, along with similar measures in Georgia and Florida, as “an assault on democracy,” blasting the moves in a statement as “disproportionately targeting Black and Brown Americans.”

He urged Congress to pass Democrats’ voting bills, the most ambitious of which, the For the People Act, would expand access to the ballot, reduce the role of money in politics, strengthen enforcement of existing election laws and limit gerrymandering. Another measure, the narrower John Lewis Voting Rights Act, would restore crucial parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013, including the requirement that some states receive federal approval before changing their election laws.

The bill in Texas, if it passes, is unlikely to be the final G.O.P. voting legislation this year. Multiple states, including Arizona, Ohio and Michigan, have legislatures that are still in session and that may move forward on new voting laws. Republicans in Michigan have pledged to work around a likely veto from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, by collecting signatures from citizens and seeking to pass new restrictions through a ballot initiative.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Texas Voting Bill Nears Passage as Republicans Advance It
Texas Voting Bill Nears Passage as Republicans Advance It
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