After Florida, Arizona and Georgia, the Texas Parliament has now also agreed to a controversial amendment to the electoral law. Among other things, it becomes harder to vote by mail in the southern state. It also banned polling stations open 24 hours a day, as well as car voting. The Republican Governor Abbott of Texas said he will sign the law soon.
The new law, an initiative by the Republicans, sounded a lot of criticism lately. Democrats and civil rights activists fear that it will be harder for certain groups to vote. On Saturday, in the capital, Washington, D.C., thousands of people went to the streets to protest against the new rules.
Black voters in particular are affected by the change of law, opponents say. For example, the letter voting, which is already subject to strict regulations in Texas, are subject to additional identification rules in the new law, which many African Americans cannot comply with.
Voting After Church
Incidentally, the new Texas law is slightly less restrictive than originally intended. For example, the first proposal included that residents were not allowed to vote after the divine service, the so-called souls to the polls. Many black Americans now often vote together after they go to church. The ban has been deleted in the final bill.
Correspondent Lucas Waagmeester made a report earlier this year about souls to the polls in Georgia, where stricter electoral rules were introduced in March. In the end, the ban on voting after the divine service did not end up in the end:
Republicans say that with the new electoral laws, they can combat large-scale election fraud, referring to unfounded claims by former President Trump about last years presidential election. Trump has always said that those elections were unfair, but no evidence of large-scale fraud has been provided.
Texas is not the only state where Republicans are trying to introduce stricter electoral laws. In total, eighteen states have now adopted legislative proposals that limit voting opportunities.
Fewer Voting Opportunities
In Texas, the stricter electoral law affects the regions around major cities such as Austin and Houston, where many African Americans live, says correspondent Marieke de Vries. “In these areas, the number of Democratic voices has been growing in recent years, and it is precisely where this new law now creates fewer voting opportunities. While they often need more guidance to vote. Thats making it harder now.”
The Democrats call the new electoral laws racist, says De Vries. “And they blame Republicans for refusing to deal with the changing demographics of the conservative state. The Republicans say they want to ensure the integrity of the electoral system and say: we make voices easy, but fraud difficult.”
Meanwhile, the Democrats at the federal level are trying to overcome the effect of the new rules. Theyre trying to get through two new laws: the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Act. Both bills give the federal government more control over polls and better protect minorities. The laws are stranded in the Senate for now.