Texas GOP proposes to reduce polling places for urban voters of color
Texas Senate Republicans passed a law that would drastically reduce the number of polling stations in strong Democratic counties, disproportionately depriving voters of color in the state. The provision is currently under discussion as the Senate and House attempt to reconcile each chamber’s bill into a single piece of legislation.
The Republican proposal now under consideration would apply a new formula to calculate the number of polling stations in five, if not six, of the state’s largest counties. But according to an analysis by the Texas Tribune, it would massively affect Democratic voters and voters of color. For example, the 13 Harris County districts that would lose polling stations under the new formula are represented by Democrats. Districts represented by Republicans, on the other hand, would gain or keep the same number of polling stations. And in the majority of cases, Harris County districts that would lose polling stations have a higher population of non-white voters, while districts that would gain polling stations have a much higher proportion of white voters. .
It is not guaranteed that this proposal will make it final legislation. Although it was passed in the State Senate, the Statehouse passed a version of the bill without the formula. The legislative process for this bill has not been without controversy. Earlier this month, the presidents of the NAACP and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) protested the composition of the conference committee – lawmakers combining bills – as it initially did not include any African American or Latin American representation, although that has since been changed.
Other parts of the bill contain ideas drawn from the conservative activist group Heritage Action for America, according to the group’s chief executive, former Trump official Jessica Anderson, who was recently caught on camera boasting. that the Texas ballot bill included “19 provisions” of Heritage.
This bill is part of a larger trend as Republicans in state legislatures across the country attempt to restrict voting under the guise of expanding access and increasing electoral security. Georgia’s governor has already signed a bill that restricts mail-in voting, bans giving food to queuing voters, and puts an end to portable polling stations. And according to the Brennan Center for Justice, 361 bills containing restrictive provisions have been introduced to legislatures in 47 states.