Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a sweeping bill on Tuesday that overhauls elections in the state, ending a dramatic month-long national saga over voting rights with a new Republican-led bill that will boost voting in the country’s second-largest state. will limit.
Mr. Abbott appeared in scarlet East Texas and proclaimed the law a “paradigm” for other states seeking to pass election laws.
Mr Abbott argued that the law would “make it harder for people to cheat at the polls in Texas”. Flanked by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s signing and the bill’s two Republican sponsors, he claimed it would “make it easier than ever for anyone to vote.”
Mr. Abbott referred in part to provisions in the law that add an extra hour during early voting on weekdays. But the legislation actually contains several measures that make voting more difficult. Notably, it bans the voting methods that Harris County, including the Democratic bastion of Houston, introduced last year to make voting easier during the pandemic, including drive-through polling stations and 24-hour voting.
The law will also further restrict absentee voting, with one provision prohibiting election officials from sending voters unsolicited ballot forms and promoting the use of postal voting, and another provision further restricting the use of drop boxes.
The law also gives partisan pollsters a lot of power; creates new criminal and civil penalties for non-compliant polling station officials; and raises new barriers for those who want to help voters who need help, such as with translations.
Before Mr. Abbott even signed the bill, voting rights groups, civil rights groups and Democrats filed lawsuits against the legislation, arguing that multiple provisions would violate both the Voting Rights Act and the amendments to the Constitution.
This article is being updated.