Greg Abbott passes Texas election integrity law

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a voter integrity bill into law Tuesday, the same law that Democrats fled the state from in a bid to block the bill.

Abbott said the bill makes “it easier than ever before for anybody to go cast a ballot. It does also, however, make sure it is harder than ever for people to cheat at the ballot box.”

“Election integrity is now law in Texas,” Abbott said before signing the bill.

The bill forbids drive-through and round-the-clock voting, and adds an ID requirement for mail-in and absentee ballots.

“Those who do want to vote-by-mail must now provide their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number when they’re applying for a mail-in ballot and when they send it back in,” the Daily Mail explained. It also mandates that polling locations in areas with more than 55,000 residents offer at least 12 hours of early voting.

The bill also allows poll watchers to be more aggressive in monitoring the voting process. Watchers are now no longer forced to sit in place and are allowed to keep track of activity across the location. Anyone who assists a voter with filling out a ballot will also now have to sign an affidavit indicating they did so in accordance with the voter’s wishes and not their own.

According to the Daily Mail, the bill also requires the Texas Secretary of State to maintain consistently updated voter rolls.

The Daily Wire reports:

Democratic legislators in Texas tried to forestall passage of the bill by leaving the state, traveling on chartered private planes to Washington, D.C., where they planned to agitate for the For the People Act, a federal voting rights bill that critics claim would amount to a federal “takeover” of a state-level election process. Once in Washington, D.C., however, some of the Texas Democratic legislators fell ill with COVID-19, triggering a small outbreak among Democratic Congressional and White House staffers.

Despite protests, the Texas legislature was able to return to session, pass the bill, and send it to Abbott’s desk. The most significant change to the bill was voter ID requirements, which now state that voters must provide a driver’s license or social security number that matches the one in their state voter record.

“The governor’s signature ends months of legislative clashes and standoffs during which Democrats — propelled by concerns that the legislation raises new barriers for marginalized voters — forced Republicans into two extra legislative sessions,” the Texas Tribune noted. “SB 1 is set to take effect three months after the special legislative session, in time for the 2022 primary elections.”

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