There are all manner of political shenanigans going on in Texas as Republicans try to legislate even more restrictive voting practices. Most Democratic members of the state legislature left the state to prevent a quorum and the governor Greg Abbott has threatened to arrest them if they return. Yes, this is what democracy has come to.
One reason that Texas has become such a focus is that Joe Biden narrowed the gap in that state even though he lost it to Trump. The margin was the smallest in 24 years. Republicans seem to fear that if Democrats start winning Texas, they will have a lock on the electoral college, and they are pulling out all the stops to prevent that outcome.
Earlier this month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called a special legislative session to pass a series of voting restriction laws. State Democrats later fled to Washington in an attempt to thwart measures that would criminalize election officials who proactively send mail-in ballots, ban 24-hour voting, ban drive-thru voting, add new ID requirements for mail-in voting and expand the power of partisan poll watchers.
Texas already has some of the most restrictive voting laws in the US and was among the states with the lowest turnout in 2020. It is one of the few states without online voter registration, and allows only those 65 and older, with a disability or who meet other criteria to vote by mail.
The new measure would suppress voter turnout, particularly among black Texans. An earlier draft of the bill even barred voting before 1pm on Sundays, a clear attempt to thwart long-standing “souls to the polls” initiatives by black churches.
Seth Meyers explains what is going on.