On Friday, the Texas Senate Committee pushed forth a bill that could severely reduce voting access throughout the state. If approved by other sections of state government, Senate Bill 7 would reduce operating hours for several polling locations and ban drive-thru voting. In addition, the bill would allow poll workers to record voters if they receive help filling out their ballots. Not to mention, Senate Bill 7 could potentially bar election officials from encouraging voters to fill out applications to vote by mail.
These actions come in the aftermath of the most recent presidential election. Without providing evidence to support his theory, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said at a recent press conference that the expansion of mail-in and drive-thru voting could lead to voter fraud.
“Whether it’s the unauthorized expansion of mail-in ballots or the unauthorized expansion of drive-thru voting,” Abbott said.
“We must pass laws to prevent election officials from jeopardizing the election process.”
Ultimately, voting rights activists believe that Senate Bill 7 would disproportionately impact the elderly, disabled voters, Black communities and Latinx communities.
“What this bill does, whether intentionally or not, is in several ways treats voters with disabilities differently than other voters — both in terms of having to prove their disability and not trusting the people that assist them,” Jeff Miller of Disability Rights Texas said.
“And that’s problematic on lots of levels, but fundamentally it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
If Senate Bill 7 passes through other sections of state government, the NAACP and Texas Civil Rights Project have hinted at taking legal action.
Today, Texas Republicans begin pursuing new voting restrictions as they work to protect their hold on power — here's what's proposed in Senate Bill 7, which gets its first #txlege hearing today https://t.co/X6OO5ROivD via @alexazura pic.twitter.com/X36J2Sb1uM
— amanda zamora (@amzam) March 22, 2021