Texas lawmakers are pushing forward with legislation to limit voting access in the state.
On Thursday, the Texas Senate approved a bill to ban countywide voting on Election Day, a move aimed at tightening election laws in the red–leaning state.
Senate Bill 990, passed on a party–line vote, would require people to vote at their assigned precinct on Election Day rather than at countywide voting centers. The bill now moves to the House for consideration.
Republican Senator Bob Hall, who introduced the legislation, said the bill would boost election security and prevent people from voting at multiple locations. He argued that requiring people to vote in one location in their neighborhood would increase accessibility.
However, Democrats argued that the secretary of state had debunked all claims of voter fraud and that the bill would make it more difficult for people in sprawling counties to find a place to vote. State Senator Sarah Eckhardt said the majority of voters use countywide polling centers, as they allow people who commute to their jobs or who have lengthy workdays to vote anywhere in the county.
Hall maintained that the bill was about security, not convenience, and suggested that people had used countywide voting sites to cast multiple ballots. He said the current system of election management made it “virtually impossible“ to audit votes.
The latest push to limit voting access in the state has sparked outrage among those who say a bill is a form of voter suppression. Advocates argue that the legislation places an undue burden on voters and restricts their ability to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
The bill‘s passage in the Senate has set off a wave of protests from voting rights activists, who are calling on the House to reject the bill. If the bill passes, it could have a significant impact on turnout in the upcoming elections.