Both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have repeatedly smeared Texas’ new anti-voter fraud legislation as a racially motivated “assault on democracy.”
That wasn’t enough to prevent the bill from passing the Texas legislature, however. What’s more, unless federal courts intervene — and it’s unclear exactly how that would play out — it seems that Democrats have few options to stop the bill from taking full effect.
According to the Texas Tribune, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed S.B. 1 into law on Tuesday, declaring, “One thing that all Texans can agree [on] and that is that we must have trust and confidence in our elections.”
“The bill that I’m about to sign helps to achieve that goal,” Abbott said. “The law does however make it harder for fraudulent votes to be cast.”
The governor went on to stress that S.B. 1 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.”
Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes has also touted the new law as a positive step, saying, “How much fraud is OK? None. How much suppression is okay? None. That’s why Senate Bill 1 makes it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”
The new rules
As Fox News reported, S.B. 1 bans “drive-thru voting or casting a ballot from inside a vehicle unless participating in curbside voting due to a disability” as well as the ability to cast a ballot overnight.
Another provision includes a requirement to record vote-counting via video surveillance technology, with the footage required to be broadcast via internet livestream in counties where the population exceeds 100,000 residents.
Further, those counties are also required to install tracking software on all electronic devices measuring input and output activity on any electronic devices used for vote counting. The law also bans the use of any electronic vote tabulating equipment that fails to inhibit wireless online connectivity.
Power to poll watchers
What’s more, the law permits partisan poll watchers to observe vote counting activity and makes their exclusion a criminal offense. Voter ID requirements have been tightened under the new legislation as well, with a driver’s license number or the last four digits of a Social Security number now required for any vote-by-mail application.
The leftist group Voto Latino has argued that the new rules are discriminatory, and the Tribune reported that the activist group has already filed a challenge against the new laws in federal court.
Its CEO, Maria Teresa Kumar, said of the situation, “Not only are we filing suit to protect the right to vote for all people of color, and the additional 250,000 young Latino Tejanos who will reach voting age in 2022, but to protect every Texan’s right to vote.”