What’s going on in Texas

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.


  1. jrkrideau says

    What’s going on in Texas
    Well, it looks like the Republicans are doing their damnedest to take advantage of the USA voting shambles to disenfranchise anyone whom they think will possibly vote against them.

    This will certainly impress the rest of the world.

  2. mnb0 says

    Neither in Suriname nor in The Netherlands it’s necessary to register.for elections. These countries use


    for it.
    Everybody (in theory) receives a voting card about two weeks for elections.
    If you haven’t received one (or lost it), as happened to me once, you can get one at the town hall where you are registered.
    A simple control system prevents people from voting twice.
    Apparently American and Australian bureaucracies like to do extra, superfluous work.

  3. jrkrideau says

    @3 mnb0
    Here are Australians voting in Antarctica

    AFAIK, Canada does not go that far but we have polling stations in prisons and for the last Federal elocution I was tracked down to my hospital bed and offered the chance to vote. Elections Canada likes to get out the vote.

  4. prl says

    Australians in prison are also able to vote in federal elections, provided they are serving a sentence of less than 3 years. If an Australian in prison becomes eligible to enrol (e.g. passes their 18th birthday) they are entitled to do so. Polling booths are also set up in hospitals, and an electoral official will bring a ballot box to the bedside of any people capable of voting, but not capable of getting to the hospital polling station.

    The Australian Electoral Commission also sends out mobile polling stations to remote communities where it would otherwise be difficult for people to vote (though voting in Antarctica isn’t done that way). I’d be surprised if something similar wasn’t done in Canada.

  5. prl says


    Apparently American and Australian bureaucracies like to do extra, superfluous work.

    The Hawke Labor government tried to introduce a national identification scheme (the Australia Card) in 1985. It was blocked in the Senate. The government requested a double dissolution of parliament (where the whole of the Senate would be re-elected, rather than the normal half-Senate election) and was granted it, but problems were then found in parts of the legislation and the government abandoned the legislation in 1987.

    I wasn’t living in Australia at the time, but I don’t think that the legislation was seen as very popular. It’s a quirk of many countries whose legal systems derive from the British one (read -- many former colonies) that there is often resistance to national civic registration, even when, at least in Australia, there seems to be little such objection to giving the federal government the same sort of information for taxation, for the use of national medical insurance or to be on the electoral roll.

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