Texas Republicans, Heading to Special Legislative Session, Introduce New Voting Bill

Texas House Republicans, heading into a special legislative session, proposed banning drive-thru and overnight early voting again Wednesday evening in their latest draft of election legislation.

A 47-page draft of House Bill 3 was filed online Wednesday evening, hours after Gov. Greg Abbott asked the Legislature to address “election integrity” in the special session, which begins Thursday.

In May, at the end of the Legislature’s regular term, Democrats blocked a similar election bill with a late-night walkout and numerous other delaying tactics, arguing that the legislation would suppress votes.

Like that bill, the legislation proposed Wednesday would add identification requirements for mail voting and ban drive-thru and overnight early voting, options that were embraced in Harris County during the 2020 general election. The new bill would add criminal penalties to the election process, as well as empower partisan poll watchers.

But unlike the previous bill, the legislation would not ban Sunday morning voting. A key Republican blamed a typographical error for that controversial provision, which was criticized for the impact it would have on Black voters and “souls to the polls” efforts.

The new bill would allow early voting to extend until 10 p.m., an hour later than the bill that failed in May.

Republicans across the country have hurried this year to implement sweeping voting restrictions, fueled in part by former President Donald Trump’s repeated false claims that the 2020 election was stolen through rampant fraud. The bill says it aims to prevent voter fraud in Texas elections, too.


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