Some advocates are working hard to wade through the new voting laws in Texas. They have a daunting task of making the law clearer to voters who are already faced with the “intimidating factor” the law presents. This article by Laura Morales is published by the Texas Observer. Here is an excerpt:
Before the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature passed a restrictive new voting measure last year, Molly Broadway was adept at navigating the state’s voting landscape. She had spent six years with Disability Rights Texas, an Austin-based nonprofit, specializing in advising voters on how to cast their ballot (regardless of party affiliation).
That same confidence is hard to find nowadays. As the state’s first election after the passage of Senate Bill 1 looms, Broadway is dogged by uncertainty. SB 1 was a backlash to the pandemic-era accommodations several counties—especially Harris County—instituted in 2020, which saw record-high voter participation rates. The law prohibits counties from proactively sending mail-in ballot applications or implementing 24-hour voting and drive-thru voting. It also creates a slew of requirements for mail-in voting applications.
“We’re trying to answer their questions and provide as much information as we can, as it’s being made available to us, but it can be challenging,” Broadway said. “And people have a lot of questions and concerns about it.” She said the changes introduce an “intimidation factor” for potential voters that could turn some off from voting at all. “Unless you are paying attention to this issue day in and day out, it is easy to get swept up by it,” she said. At the same time, newly gerrymandered political maps in Texas appear to water down the voting power of people of color, despite the fact that they made up 95 percent of the state’s population growth in the last decade.
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