The Texas Republican Congress on Tuesday passed a new electoral law that makes it difficult for some demographic groups to vote. Republican Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign the bill soon.
Both the House and Senate – both controlled by Republicans – approved the measure. This includes banning car and 24-hour voting sites and adding new identification requirements for postal voting.
Car voting and 24 hours were one of the innovations made around the recent presidential election in the Houston metropolitan area, which is home to many people of color. These measures are said to have been partly responsible for the record turnout in the area, as they make it easier for people to vote.
Similar legislation in other countries
Similar legislation has also been passed in other states with Republican majorities, including Florida and Georgia. Republicans frequently point to former President Donald Trump’s claim that voter fraud cost him last November’s election. Despite extensive research and multiple narratives across the country, no evidence of this has been found.
The bill was finally passed after dozens of Democratic lawmakers fled the state on July 12 in protest. They did so to break a legislative quorum, delaying its adoption by more than six weeks. Democrats argued that the new law disproportionately handicapped voters of color.
The final chapter in the racial legacy
Democratic Senator Juan Hinojosa called the bill “the latest chapter in a racist legacy of American voter suppression,” which will be “brought up when minorities threaten to seize power.” According to the latest census, the Hispanic population in Texas is now roughly equal to the number of non-Hispanic whites. The Hispanic population, that is, people with roots in Latin America, is expected to be in the majority by 2022.
Democratic Representative Trey Martinez said opponents of the new election law would continue the fight in court. “This law was drafted for one purpose: to prevent some people from voting,” Martinez said. Once the governor signs this act, it will face strong opposition in the federal courts.
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