Democrats protest GOP election bills with voter obstacle course at the Texas Capitol

Texas Politics

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The metaphor isn’t difficult to grasp.

Democrats protested two controversial proposals brought by Republicans to further restrict election laws in Texas by assembling an obstacle course outside the state capitol on Wednesday.

“These are solutions in search of a problem,” said State Rep. Chris Turner, chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus.

The protest focused on House Bill 6 and Senate Bill 7 which, together, would restrict early voting hours, the locations of polling locations, and mail-in ballots. The Texas Senate approved SB 7 while HB 6 is expected to get a vote in the Texas House soon.

A patchwork of other bills would accomplish many of the core principles of HB 6 and SB 7. The House Elections Committee considered a dozen bills on Wednesday, one of which would ban 24-hour voting.

Travis County Judge Andy Brown, a Democrat, said the bills would add red tape to the elections process.

“There’s no evidence of voter fraud to support these bills,” Brown said at the demonstration. “(They would) make it harder for counties like the county elections division here in Travis County to do things like sending out vote by mail applications, promoting vote by mail applications, which have proven to be safe.”

Where Democrats see obstacles, political experts say, Republicans see an opportunity.

“Their primary goal is to, they say, limit voter fraud,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. “That is obviously not something that happens as frequently as they say it does but it is certainly something that their base cares about and is really concerned about.”

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