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Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed the state’s controversial electoral integrity bill on Tuesday after a months-long battle with Democrats who say it restricts minority voting rights.
Senate Bill 1, which supporters say makes elections safer by protecting against electoral fraud, bans drive-thru voting and places several other restrictions on voting times and postal voting.
“It makes it easier for people to go and vote,” Abbott said at the signing in the northeast Texas town of Tyler.
“No one with the right to vote will be denied the opportunity to vote. This, however, makes it more difficult for cheaters to vote illegally.”
Abbott’s signing follows a protracted battle that saw 50 Democratic lawmakers flee Texas in a desperate attempt to deny Republicans the minimum number of representatives present required to vote.
The move comes as supporters of former US President Donald Trump still allege without evidence that widespread electoral fraud occurred in the 2020 election he lost.
President Joe Biden called earlier wording in the legislation “an attack on democracy” that would disproportionately affect voters of color.
Since January, at least 18 U.S. states have passed laws restricting voting and a dozen more are under consideration, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.
The local Latin American community, trade unionists and retirees have already filed lawsuits against the legislation, and an initiative is underway in Congress to pass voter protections under the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would replace Texas law.
“Texas is one of the toughest states in the country to vote. Today, Gov. Greg Abbott enacted a bill that will make it even more difficult for eligible Texans to exercise their freedom to vote,” he said. said Chris, chairman of the Texas House Democratic Caucus. Turner said in a statement.
“Senate Bill 1 will come into force on December 3. With the deliberate impediments to voting created by this law and the imminent redistribution, we need the United States Senate to act immediately on John Lewis’ voting rights law. Our democracy depends on it. . “
© 2021 AFP