Texas Senate Approves Legislation to Ban Mail-In Ballot Drop Boxes
Republicans say bill 'ensures election integrity'
The Texas state Senate has approved legislation that would ban mail-in ballot drop boxes along with drive-thru voting to “ensure election integrity."
Democrats argue that the legislation is voter suppression, making it more difficult for ethnic minorities to vote.
The bill passed 18–13 along party lines and will head to the state’s House of Representatives.
Republican Sen. Bryan Hughes said the measure is “designed to address areas through a process where bad actors can take advantage because we want the people of Texas to be confident their elections are fair, honest, and open.”
The legislation “standardizes and clarifies” voting rules so “every Texan has a fair and equal opportunity to vote, regardless of where they live in the state.”
Voters with disabilities will have to prove they cannot access polls in-person to qualify for a mail-in ballot.
It would also require authorization from top state leaders to be notified of private funding exceeding $1,000 that is given to election departments, according to KXAN.
Voters in the states are already required to provide a reason to vote by mail, including illness or disability, 65 or older, or those in jail.
Democrats accused Republicans of engaging in voter suppression.
“Every eligible Texan deserves to have their voice heard at the ballot box—regardless of their race, ethnicity, disability, gender, age, income, or party. SB 7 makes it harder for every Texan to vote,” a statement from the state Democratic Party said.
“We aggressively fought this bill because we know it will disenfranchise racial and ethnic minority voters and voters with disabilities, including veterans.”
State Sen. Borris Miles, a Democrat, said:
“As I see this bill, it’s a pure case of suppression. There are some things in here that are really offensive.”
Other Democrats said the legislation is like the Jim Crow laws that enforced racial segregation in the southern United States.
Neon Nettle reported on Thursday that an audit of the 2020 presidential election results in Montana discovered a large number of "irregularities" with the state's mail-in vote ballots.
The state's audit showed that one in 14 of the votes cast had issues.
Among the deeply disturbing "irregularities" was evidence that “one or several persons may have filled out and submitted multiple ballots,” the audit report notes.
Another notable red flag for auditors was the failure by election officials in Missoula County to provide video footage of the vote count taking place.