Texas GOP passes bill making it harder for veterans to vote


Republican lawmakers in Texas passed a bill to end mobile polling sites that help disabled veterans and the elderly vote.

Texas Republicans are hell-bent on making it harder for residents of their state to vote.

Even after a harsh bill imposing criminal penalties for mistakes on voter registration forms died in the legislature, Republicans passed two more bills that directly target voting rights, according to the Texas Observer.

One bill effectively eliminates mobile polling sites. The move appears intended to make it harder for voting populations who often support Democratic candidates, such as college students and people with limited access to transportation, to cast ballots.

Critics say the bill will have the consequence of also hurting disabled vets and elderly voters who have a harder time making it to the polls and waiting in long lines.

"This is going to take away their ability to access these polls. … We don't need to have voter suppression laws, especially after serving the country honorably," Charles Mario Henry, a 32-year-old disabled Army veteran, told the Texas Observer. "I'm sure, on both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats, we can all agree that taking away those rights is not something we want to do as a state."

The second bill is a workaround to an attempt to purge Hispanic voters from the rolls.

Earlier this year, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley wrongly accused nearly 100,000 non-citizens of illegally voting in the state's 2018 elections, and used that false number to try to purge tens of thousands of eligible voters — many of them Hispanic — from the rolls. Of course, Whitley's claim of illegal voting quickly fell apart, and a judge ruled that he had to stop the purge and admit the illegal voting claim was a lie.

However, Texas Republicans passed a new bill to try and legally purge Hispanic voters from the rolls, adding a requirement that the secretary of state compare voters' registrations against their citizenship status, according to the Texas Tribune.

Democrats say the new bill will have the same effect as the failed voter purge that a judge already ruled against.

"My concern is that we're just going to put a target on naturalized citizens and keep them from being eligible to vote," José Menéndez, a San Antonio Democrat, told the Texas Observer.

All of these moves come after Democrats made inroads into the GOP's stronghold on the Lone Star State in 2018. Democrats ousted a number of Republican members of Congress in traditionally Republican areas, and Beto O'Rourke came close to ousting GOP Sen. Ted Cruz.

The fact that Texas could be trending away from Republicans and toward purple state status clearly has the state GOP terrified.

And rather than appealing to the new crop of voters, they are simply trying to keep those who don't back their policies from the polls.

In fact, Texas Republicans' new motto should be, "If you can't beat 'em, disenfranchise 'em."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.