Eric Gay / AP
Texas lawmakers approved a new state election law after a session that lasted from Thursday evening until the wee hours of Friday morning.
The GOP-backed bill passed the House at 3 a.m. on Friday after hours of debate on several Democrats’ proposed amendments. It now returns to the Senate with amendments for another vote in this chamber.
The bill, as drafted, would make it a crime to provide a voter with a request for a postal vote if he had not requested one on his own, or to use public funds to facilitate distribution by mail to third parties. requests for a vote.
The proposal also requires that anyone who helps someone else to vote must complete their own form explaining why the voter needs help, the name and address of the help, how they are helping and his relationship with the voter.
The possibility for polling station “observers” to be present throughout the election day is also extended under the bill. He sets the bar high for when these observers can be kicked out of the polling station. The bill states that they can only be removed “if the observer engages in an activity which would constitute an offense relating to the conduct of the election.”
The bill has been criticized by Democrats, progressive groups and advocates of voting rights as a “voter suppression bill”. Republicans such as State Representative Jeff Leach see it as “reasonable electoral integrity legislation that guarantees and protects full access to the ballot box.” The law project, he tweeted shortly after 4:30 a.m., crack down on “illegal activities” that undermine elections, echoing unfounded claims that last November’s elections were unsafe.
The proposal is one of a long list of state election laws that are making their way through Republican-led state legislatures. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a similar election bill on Thursday.
Democrats say Efforts to further restrict mailing and early voting are a direct response to actions that led to a high turnout in the 2020 election, helping them succeed at the polls.
Major companies with offices in Texas voted against these legislative proposals last month. American Airlines, which is based in Fort Worth, and Dell Technologies, which is headquartered in Round Rock, criticized the effort, calling for fair access to the vote.