Texas Moving Forward With Voter Restriction Bill After 22-Hour Hearing—Over 350 Similar Bills Filed Across U.S.

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Texas Moving Forward With Voter Restriction Bill After 22-Hour Hearing—Over 350 Similar Bills Filed Across U.S.
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Topline

A meeting held in Texas over a proposed set of new voting restrictions in the state wrapped up Friday morning after dragging on for nearly an entire day, after hundreds of Texans lined up to share their thoughts on the bill—one of now more than 350 voting restriction proposals reportedly filed across 47 states, which critics have slammed as Republican-led voter suppression efforts.

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Young voters show their “I Voted” stickers after voting at a polling station in Plano, Texas on Nov. … [+] 3, 2020. (Photo by Dan Tian/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Dan Tian via Getty Images)


Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

Key Facts

The hearing by the Texas House Committee on Elections ended at around 6 a.m. Central time Friday morning after starting at 8 a.m. on Thursday.

The public event attracted hundreds of Texans who had the chance to speak before the committee—many during the early morning hours—on House Bill 6, which the Brennan Center for Justice calls “another broad reaching voter suppression bill.”

House Bill 6 is one of two omnibus bills targeting election reform moving through the state legislature, with the bills proposing new measures like banning drive-through voting and making it harder to get an absentee ballot.

The other big election reform bill—Senate Bill 7—passed the Texas Senate on Thursday on a party-line 18-13 vote.

Crucial Quote

“After 22 hours, the House Committee on Elections has adjourned,” state Rep. Art Fierro (D) said Friday morning. “I would like to thank the hundreds of Texans and that came out to testify and so patiently waited for their voice to be heard. We are so grateful.”

Key Background

Texas is the latest big, Republican-controlled state that’s moving to push through new restrictions on voting. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a new law into place last week that’s led to massive backlash, including lawsuits from civil rights groups who claim the law violates the Voting Rights Act. Another effort is moving through the Florida legislature. And nationally, at least 361 bills have been introduced so far this year in 47 states aimed at restricting ballot access, according to the Brennan Center. Many of those bills could fail to pass or  take effect in states where they could have little impact. But Democrats are especially concerned about the efforts in states like Texas, Florida and Georgia, since Democrats view all of those as swing states, and all carry a massive haul of Electoral College votes.

Contra

Democrats in Congress are hoping to pass the For the People Act, which would enact national voting standards and could largely undo restrictive new state legislation.

Chief Critics

Major Texas-based companies, like American Airlines and Dell, have already come out against the bills being considered in Texas. Georgia’s voting law is facing similar pushback from large companies.

Further Reading

Texas Senate Passes GOP-Led Bill That Restricts Voting (Forbes)

Sweeping Georgia Voting Restrictions Signed Into Law (Forbes)

Stacey Abrams-Founded Group Sues Georgia Over ‘Voter Suppression Bill’ (Forbes)

Florida Republicans Propose Eliminating Voting Drop Boxes (Forbes)

Corporate giants come out against Republicans’ efforts to restrict voting in Texas (Texas Tribune)

Apple’s Tim Cook Latest To Condemn Georgia Voting Law (Forbes)

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