Friday, May 7, 2021

Fact-Check Texas Republicans Attack Harris County Voting Procedures

To justify a number of changes to the law, Republicans in Texas are pointing to 2020 election practices in Harris County, including Houston, arguing that the county’s drive-through voting beyond the Texas-Election Code Allows sending mail-out ballots, allows applications and voters to register through PO Box address.

While the Harris County Kovid-19 pandemic came under scrutiny in the wake of a bipartisan, multilateral election security task force to increase access to voting found it No cases of voter fraud in the county for the 2020 election.

Take a look at the facts about those claims from Texas Republicans:

Drive-through voting

The opening drive-through voting center was one of the hotly disputed practices that Harris County implemented because of the Kovid-19.

Texas Republicans have argued that the practice is not allowed under the state’s election code.

Texas state Sen. Brian Hughes said Monday, “Drive-through voting was never allowed in Texas.” “It is not in the election code.”

Fact First: this is confusing. The Texas Code stipulates that polling places must be located inside a building on election day, but early voting is permitted within movable structures. Texas election code Does not explicitly state drive-through polling locations.
In November, the Texas Supreme Court Denied to Republicans requested to throw out 127,000 ballots cast through drive-through voting in the 2020 election.

Early voting can take place in any “structure”, the definition of which is flexible according to Joaquin Gonzalez, an attorney for the Texas Civil Rights Project, a legal advocacy group.

“In terms of ‘structure’ in other areas, it is wider than just a building,” Gonzalez said. “That’s what the federal court actually agreed to.”

Requests to close drive-through polling places were rejected by a federal court in Houston, stating that the plaintiff – a Republican state representative, two GOP candidates and a conservative activist – would have to sue Harvest County Did not stand for

The opinion published by US Southern District Judge Andrew Hannon agreed that the “structure” was not specifically defined in the Texas Election Code and noted that the code for “temporary branch polling locations” during early voting Gives permission. Hannon said drive-through voting was allowed during early voting, as the tents used at polling places would be considered “structure”. ”

If passed by the Texas House, the proposed legislation would restrict the use of drive-through voting by restricting polling places to buildings and banning the use of movable structures. SB 7 The states “Voter space may not be located in a tent or other temporary movable structure or facility designed primarily for motor vehicles,” noting that “no voter may cast a vote from inside a motor vehicle,” when Even if the voter does not meet the criteria. Another section for the disabled.

Voting application

Assuming that the “integrity of elections in 2020” was questioned, the Texas government. Greg Abbott said that in Houston “the clerk of the county election attempted to send unsolicited mail-in ballots to millions of voters, many of whom would not be eligible. Vote by post.”

Fact First: It is true that Harris County clerk Chris Hallins plans to send vote-by-mail applications to all 2.4 million registered voters in the county. Only 65 and older, ill or disabled, are in jail or out of county on election day under Texas law Suitable To vote by mail.
Texas Attorney General Sued For violating Texas election law, Hollins alleged that he acted by his power as county clerk and that mass mailing for voters would “sow confusion” for voters. Texas supreme court Governance In October that there was no evidence that the epidemic would inadequately present the normal distribution of ballots, Harris County would eventually be barred from sending applications to all registered voters.
The new law in the Texas House would create a felony for election officials to distribute “ballot or ballot material”, which included absentee ballots, for voters who have not requested them. Texas is one Fist In states where people are not automatically eligible to vote by post. If implemented, HB 6 would further reduce the system for mail-in voting in Texas.

Po boxes

State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, a Republican, criticized election officials at a press conference on March 15, stating that “one of his pets, and I can’t believe we still do that in Harris County Doing, we are allowing “People must be registered in the private PO box. “

“No one in this room lives in a 2-inch by 3-inch private PO box.” “But 4,880 in Harris County, about 5,000 people are still registered.”

During a midterm election in 2018, Bettencourt raised similar concerns over the voter list in Harris County, criticizing a decision by the county’s registrar. Dismissed a the challenge 4,000 registrations that allegedly use commercial store locations such as UPS Store as their address.

“(W) e must have a voter roll working in Harris County,” Bettencourt said at the time. “We cannot conduct elections in a charged environment of 2018 without a voter roll that the public believes in its integrity.”

Fact First: Reference is needed for this. While private PO boxes are not accepted for voter registration in Harris County, the Texas Election Code provides that if an applicant does not have a residence address, they are able to use the address at which they ” “Receive mail with brief description. Place of residence of the applicant. ”

Bettencourt told CNN that he was referring to people who register using a commercial postal store address. It is permitted under the Texas Election Code.

According to Roxne Werner, deputy communications director for the Harris County Election Administrator, voter registration applications in Harris County that list a PO box as an address are not processed. Texans must include a physical address on their voter registration application, with no PO-box number to write. Under the address, the application itself says “Do not include the PO box.”

Wenner said the store’s addresses look the same as any apartment or home addresses, unless election officials can challenge voters’ addresses on voter applications.

Bettencourt has Started Seven “election integrity” bills for the Texas Legislature since March. One of the bills, Sb 1111, Is intended to eliminate the alleged use of PO Boxes for registration by providing voters with documents residing at their registered address. Under the bill, commercial postal store addresses would be unacceptable.

For those without a physical address, Bettencourt’s proposed legislation would require them to give an affidavit to the registrar stating that they have no address and “provide a brief description of the voter’s place of residence”.

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