The Texas legislature is advancing a bill that would limit early voting hours, place more restrictions on people who provide assistance with voting, control the number of voting machines at each location and allow partisan poll watchers to record video or photos of people voting, among other measures. The Texas State House is expected to begin hearings on the bill soon, which passed the state Senate around 2 a.m. on April 1 in an 18-13 party-line vote.
Republican state leaders said the omnibus elections bill would improve confidence in elections and set uniform standards across the state’s 254 counties. Democrats said it would make it more difficult to vote, particularly in urban areas and minority districts, and could allow voter intimidation.
The bill, along with others filed in Texas, comes as Republican lawmakers across the country have proposed new limits for mail-in voting and other electoral changes. Georgia emerged as an early hot spot after Republicans passed a bill along party lines in late March that added vote-by-mail identification requirements and limited ballot drop boxes.
Passage of the bill prompted Major League Baseball to pull this year’s All-Star game from Atlanta and garnered opposition from companies including Delta Air Lines Inc. and Coca-Cola Co. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who signed the bill, called the criticism partisan.
Opponents to the Texas legislation are trying to build on the Georgia experience by pushing major corporations to come out earlier in opposition to the bill.