Working Around Texas Law, Dems Mail ‘Thousands’ Voting Applications

The Texas Democratic Party said Monday it would mail hundreds of thousands of vote-by-mail applications to Texans age 65 and older, a move that recently approved changes to the state’s election law.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed legislation in September changing the state’s election laws, removing options such as drive-thru voting and 24-hour polling places that were used in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic .

The state has already limited voting by mail to Texas voters 65 and older, out-of-state voters during the election, and people with disabilities. The new law added more restrictions on voting by mail, and could face criminal prosecution for election officials for encouraging people to request mail-in ballots.

As Texans prepare to run for re-election, the state Democratic Party says it is sending “hundreds of thousands” of vote-by-mail applications to eligible voters. Above, workers drop voters’ ballots into a secure box at a ballot drop-off location in Austin, Texas.
Sergio Flores / Getty Images

But the Texas Democratic Party said it would send vote-by-mail applications to Texans age 65 and older. The mailings are part of the party’s out-of-vote effort as the state approaches its January 31 deadline to register for the March 1 primary elections.

“Our vote-by-mail program is one of the most important voter turnout programs we run as the Texas Democratic Party, and it is now more important than ever that we get people the tools and resources they need. Rose Clousten, the party’s director of voter protection, said in a statement. “We can’t rely on our Republican-run state government to do this for us.”

With a hotline to answer voters’ questions, Clauston said the party was trying to make casting a ballot as easy as possible and wanted to make sure older Texans had “everything they need to make their voices heard.” ” The party reiterated its support for the federal voting rights law which is currently stalled in Congress.

Clauston said that the Republicans, who dominate the Texas state government, have made it very clear that they only think that Republicans should have the right to vote, and so it is up to us to decide whether to elect voters created by Republicans. Help navigate the maze of voting laws.

Texas Secretary of State John Scott’s office and the state GOP did not respond to emails. newsweek Seeking comment on Monday evening.

Scott, a Republican, issued a statement Monday encouraging eligible Texans to begin registering for the upcoming primaries, calling the process “easy and straightforward.”

“We want all eligible Texans to participate in all upcoming elections this year, including the primary election, in which voters will select candidates to appear on the November 2022 general election ballot,” he said.

Following the 2020 election and unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud by former President Donald Trump, state legislatures across the county considered or enacted new measures to make the vote more secure.

Abbott had previously called his state’s election law a “paradigm” for other states, saying it would be “hard to cheat on the ballot”. Opponents have argued that electoral fraud is disappearing and that these measures only make it harder to vote.

In November Biden filed suit against Texas, arguing that his new law violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Texas has one of the most restrictive requirements in the country for voters to vote by mail. Nearly every state saw an increase in vote-by-mail in the 2020 election, but only saw the smallest increase, at 11 percent, according to Texas. For analysis by FiveThirtyEight,