The shrinking lead of Republicans in Texas in the 2020 presidential elections has motivated Texas Republicans to take sweeping voter suppression measures in the state.
As the US Supreme Court endorsed Republicans’ efforts of voter suppression recently, it has motivated Republicans to extend their struggles in Texas as well.
Under Republicans’ assault is Harris County, which is the home to more than 4.7 million Americans, the majority of whom support Democrats categorically.
How are state Republicans intending to stop Texans’ voices in times when the voting laws in the said state were already some of the strictest in the state? Let’s see.
Snatching the Right to Vote from Texans: Republicans New Motive
Republicans’ efforts to suppress voters in Texas are not new. Harris County, a largely Democratic area, witnessed a stranger situation when Texas Republicans made a bid in front of the Texas Supreme Court to invalidate 127,000 mail-in ballots already cast in the 2020 elections.
Although Republicans failed in this effort, however, this was the beginning of the destruction of voting rights.
Harris County tried to smash Republicans’ ambitions by showing up in great numbers in elections, boasting a 66 percent turnout.
Texas Republicans are now up to House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 1 that would curb the voting rights to a great extent.
State Democrats adopted a tactic of fleeing the state, gaining the advantage of the law, which does not allow the legislative section without the presence of two-thirds of the legislators present.
By passing the new bills, state Republicans want to introduce new ID requirements for mail-in voting. Not only this, Republicans want that local election officials must not send mail-in voting applications to voters without voters’ request.
Texas Republicans are trying to kill easy voting methods through various means. They are trying to ban drive-through voting and a 24-hour voting window completely.
The mantra of state Republicans is once again beating around the bush of groundless claims of voter fraud. It is pertinent to note here that Greg Abbott is the same governor who led post-election efforts in the US Supreme Court, receiving applause from former President Donald Trump.
Voting rights activists claim that the availability of these innovative methods of voting increased Black people and shift workers’ participation in the last year’s election.
So, the efforts are once again directed against minority groups.
State Republicans Trying to Strangle Voters in Every Possible Manner
Republicans’ ambitions in Texas do not stop here. These efforts are also aiming to curb partisan poll watchers’ authority in the polling stations, imposing new penalties on election workers.
Republicans’ voter suppression provisions are too much to be incorporated by only two bills.
Another bill, HB 329, would empower the Texas Secretary of State to suspend voter registration funding in specific counties.
This provision is expectedly brewed to curb voters in Harris County and other Democratic majority counties.
Another bill, HB 895, will empower partisan poll workers to take photographs of “the entire face of a voter” in case they find the voter’s ID questionable and fraudulent.
Not only this, but police will be able to use those photographs in criminal investigations.
This will initiate an era of voter harassment where Black people and others belonging to Democratic majority counties are likely to face the music.
Texas voter suppression is a blatant bid by state Republicans to grab power in the state.
It was already anticipated that Republicans’ efforts would not stop in Georgia. Just like Georgia, Texas would not be the last state to face this misery until or unless Democrats become serious for HR1, which aims to federalize the elections.
While Georgia suppression has become a law, Democrats must resist to the maximum possible extent to stop the legislative process in Texas.
If Democrats win their Georgia lawsuit, they will be in a better position to pursue legal avenues in the rest of the states as well. However, this possibility looks like asking too much from the conservative-led Supreme Court.
Republican voting restrictions in Texas are making it harder to vote for Democrats as the winning margin of Donald Trump reduced in the 2020 elections compared to the 2016 win.
The burden on the political activists of Texas, like Michelle Tremillo and Brianna Brown, has also increased manifold, with Republicans going hungry in clinching the power through repressive regimes.