During the last election cycle, Texans all over the state benefited from more voting opportunities, such as expansion of early voting, extended hours at the polling places, and more options to return vote-by-mail ballots. These are the kinds of measures that Texans want. With the enactment of SB 1, these measures are prohibited. SB 1 adds to the morass of our election laws by using broad and confusing language, creating barriers to voting, and adding criminal offenses.
The list below summarizes the League’s highest concerns. They are shared by a number of other nonpartisan groups as well.
- Threaten election officials with criminal prosecution for enacting procedures to meet localcommunity needs and increase voter freedom;
- Threaten advocacy groups and individuals with felony prosecution for providing neededassistance to voters at polling locations and with mail ballots;
- Limit the ability of election judges to remove disruptive or intimidating partisan pollwatchers;
- Allow partisan poll watchers to take election officials to court over perceived obstruction;
- Require voters using mail ballots to include the ID number contained in their registrationrecords when applying for or returning mail ballots;
- Require audits disproportionately targeting more populous counties that are duplicativeof audits required by legislation passed during the regular session.
- Prohibit outdoor voting, even in situations involving natural disasters and prohibitdrive-through voting locations and mail ballot drop boxes;
- Require new procedures for purging lists of registered voters and threaten local officialswith loss of employment and civil penalties for failing to maintain voter lists to thesatisfaction of the Secretary of State;
One good thing...
- Provide voters an opportunity to cure certain minor errors on mail ballots.