As Midterms Approach, Texas Republicans Happy About Stronger Voter Integrity Laws

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With midterm elections taking center stage in Texas—where Republicans hope to flip deep-blue territories in the Rio Grande Valley red—election integrity laws are key.

Like other states, Texas began focusing on strengthening voting laws after the 2020 election raised questions about irregularities mainly centered on mail-in ballots, drop boxes, and ballot harvesting.

In 2021, the Republican-led legislature in Texas passed Senate Bill 1, a sweeping election reform bill applauded by conservatives for adding protection against voter fraud.

Democrats, on the other hand, vehemently opposed the bill calling it voter suppression.

The law banned several practices, such as 24-hour and drive-thru voting, which Harris County used in 2020.

It forbids counties from sending out mail-in ballot applications to people who didn’t request them. It also required mail-in ballots that are dropped off to be received by an election official, not a drop box.

The bill authorized election audits starting with the 2020 election. Phase one of the audit results released in December found a total of 11,737 potential non-U.S. citizens registered to vote in Texas.

Auditors are now working on phase two of the audit to address voter rolls in four heavily populated counties—Collin, Dallas, Harris, and Tarrant, which account for about 10 million people or a third of Texas’ population.

Watchdog groups and politicians think the new voter integrity laws will help Texas administer fair elections going into 2022. But that doesn’t mean Texas should let its guard down, especially with the upcoming midterm elections.

In South Texas, Republicans hope to flip three Congressional seats and win back control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Republican candidates Mayra Flores, Monica De la Cruz, and Cassy Garcia are running for Texas Congressional Districts 34, 28, and 15, respectively, in heavily Hispanic districts that are traditionally blue.

Flores won her seat temporarily during a special election in June, making her the first Republican to win the district in more than a century. Flores must defeat Democrat Congressman Vicente Gonzalez in November to keep the seat.

By Darlene McCormick Sanchez

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