Texas Democrats stage melodramatic play | Notice
As the Texas legislative session drew to a close on Sunday, lawmakers appeared poised to pass a bill revising the state’s elections, until Democrats made one final move: They snuck out of the building. . “Members, take your key and leave the room quietly,” a Democratic state House leader told his caucus in a text message at 10:35 p.m.
This extraordinary decision deprived the House of a quorum, killing the bill for the time being, at the cost of undermining the legislative process. But what are you waiting for after months of Democratic alarms over the “suppression of voters”? President Biden on Saturday called Texas’ plan “un-American” and “part of an attack on democracy.” At least this time he didn’t say it was worse than Jim Crow, who was the political bomb he threw on the Georgia bill.
The reality is more prosaic. To start with the controversy, the 67-page bill would nullify Covid-19 innovations such as the Harris County drive-thru vote and the 24-hour vote. These options were used disproportionately last year by black and Hispanic residents. But when did emergency procedures in the midst of a 100-year pandemic suddenly become the new benchmark? It’s not crazy to think the polling station shenanigans might be more likely at 3 a.m.
The bill says that on the last Sunday of early voting, polling stations may not open until 1 p.m. It is at least a political error in the sense that it is presented as an attack on black churches which have a “souls at the polls” tradition. . A lawmaker supporting the bill argued, “These election workers also want to go to church. But some people fulfill their religious obligations on Saturdays, and Texas repealed most of its blue laws in 1985 anyway. Lawmakers would be wise to drop this provision.
Under the bill, Texas would still offer about two weeks of early voting. Mr Biden’s beloved Delaware will not have an early vote until 2022, when he is 10 days old. The Texas bill would also increase minimum hours. Over the past week, counties with 100,000 residents are currently scheduled to open their “main” polling station 12 hours on weekdays and five hours on Sundays. This population threshold would drop to 30,000 and six hours would be mandatory on Sunday.
Ballots and mail requests would ask for a state identification number or the last four digits of a social security number. Georgia and Florida have adopted similar measures, and the goal is to verify identity without having to do subjective signature analysis. In Georgia’s 2018 election, black voters accounted for 54 percent of rejected ballots for signature or oath issues. The Texas bill says that if the ID numbers match, the voter’s signature would be “presumed” valid.
The bill would change the legal standard for proving fraud to “a preponderance of evidence” instead of “clear and convincing evidence”. If the number of illegal votes matched the margin, the courts could dismiss a race, without showing that the fraud changed the outcome. Critics say he’s flattering Donald Trump, but Mr. Trump lost in 2020 by either standard.
Whether the new rules are too lax is a matter of judgment: imagine a race decided by 50 votes, with 51 illegal votes detected. Have others slipped? Perhaps the best thing for public confidence would be to re-run the election.
Bill has a lot of odds and ends. Offering “vote-gathering services in exchange for compensation” would be prohibited. Tabulating machines would be banned “if a wireless connectivity capability of the equipment has not been deactivated”. Communications between public officials and voting system providers would generally be considered “non-confidential”. On election returns, postal ballots would be declared separately. Employers would be prohibited, “while early voting is underway,” from refusing to excuse workers who wish to go to the polls.
The Texas bill is not perfect, but no election law is, since the exercise involves balancing ballot access, election security, ease of administration, etc. The point is, it’s hard to take Mr. Biden’s account of an attack on democracy seriously in a state that gives voters two weeks to vote. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on Sunday that the Elections Bill would be added to the Legislative Assembly’s agenda for an upcoming special session.
So expect more heated rhetoric from supporters like Mr. Biden. But remember his stories are meant to give political cover to Congressional Democrats who want to override the election laws of 50 states by scrambling HR1 in a partisan vote. This is the real scandal of the electoral law.
– The Wall Street Journal
– The Wall Street Journal