Texas governor signs new GOP voting restrictions into law

source: https://www.politico.com

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an elections overhaul into law Tuesday that adds more voting regulations within the booming country, after Democrats spent months protesting what they say are efforts to weaken minority turnout and hold the GOP's eroding dominance.

Abbott signed the sweeping adjustments in the course of a rite inside the East Texas town of Tyler, in which the encompassing county went for former President Donald Trump by way of a more than 2-to-1 margin closing 12 months. But it become far nearer in Texas normal, with Trump wearing the state through 5 half of factors, the thinnest margin of victory by using a GOP presidential nominee here in decades.

The bill signing once more underlined the tough proper turn Texas Republicans made this yr, together with a brand new kingdom regulation that took effect remaining week banning most abortions.

Texas is among at least 18 states which have enacted new vote casting regulations because the 2020 election, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

The laws are a part of a national GOP campaign, including in Florida, Georgia and Arizona, to tighten voting laws within the name of protection, in part pushed by using Trump's false claims that the election changed into stolen.

Opponents did now not wait for Abbott's signature to begin submitting court cases in opposition to the new Texas regulation known as Senate Bill 1. The American Civil Liberties Union, minority rights groups and disability advocates are part of a broad coalition that filed separate court cases remaining week in federal court docket in Texas, accusing Republicans lawmakers of violating the federal Voting Rights Act and deliberately discriminating against minorities.

Some adjustments squarely take intention at the Houston location, wherein President Joe Biden carried the encompassing county of 1.6 million electorate via a 13-factor margin. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic ultimate 12 months, Harris County elections officials provided 24-hour polling places and force-through balloting, which can be now outlawed beneath the brand new law. The county also tried sending mail-in poll applications to extra than 2 million registered citizens, however going ahead in Texas, any elections officers who tries sending an application to someone who doesn't request one could face crook expenses.

Partisan ballot watchers are actually also entitled to extra movement, and election judges who impede them can also face crook consequences, which Democrats argue should lead to voter intimidation.

In response to new balloting regulations in GOP-managed statehouses, Democrats in Congress need to pass new federal voting rights protections on the federal degree however have been unable to overcome competition form Senate Republicans.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended Biden’s method on vote casting rights, announcing the president had used his bully pulpit and made Vice President Kamala Harris the point individual on the issue. But Psaki said the administration planned to take additional however unspecified steps to deal with worries from vote casting rights groups. “We would say to these advocates: we stand with you,” Psaki told journalists Tuesday aboard Air Force One. “There’s extra we’re going to maintain operating on collectively.”

Abbott signed the bill 100 days after Democrats kicked off a summer season of remaining-ditch maneuvers via walking out of the country Capitol to briefly block the degree. That was observed by means of greater than 50 Democrats flying to Washington, D.C., in July to thwart the bill for a 2d time, which brought about Republicans issuing civil arrest warrants in order to compel Democrats to return, despite the fact that no one wound up being forced to come returned.

But the protests did not land up extensively changing the invoice, underscoring Republicans' willpower to skip the degree and the energy in their commanding majority in the Texas Capitol.