Texas took a major step Sunday toward becoming the nation’s largest state where the GOP is making voting harder following the 2020 elections, with the Senate approving a bill that would empower poll watchers, create criminal penalties and add new restrictions on where, when and how to vote.
The bill aims to create criminal penalties, give more authority to poll watchers and introduce complex voting instructions, reported Associated Press.
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The legislation aims to achieve the following changes in Texas’ voting regulations:
1) Banning drive-through voting: The city of Houston, considered to be one of the few Democratic strongholds in Texas, introduced the facility of voting through drive-through counters in the 2020 Presidential elections.
2) Identification requirements: Through the new bill, the lone star state will be adding a new requirement in the mail-in ballot applications. This will compel the voters to submit a copy of their social security number or other forms of ID proofs.
3) Early voting restrictions: The new bill is likely to restrict early voting in the country. This would in turn affect the “souls to the polls” programme, which is mostly availed by those who attend church on Sunday.
4) Voter assistance: Those who are helping people with their voting, for example, those who are unable to travel alone, will be required to disclose their relationship to the person they are assisting. In the case of a violation, the person is likely to face felony charges.
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The legislation still needs to clear two more stages before it becomes state law in Texas. These include getting approval from a GOP-dominated House and a signature from the state Governor Greg Abbott, both of which are most likely to happen, reported Associated Press.