Senate Bill 1: What you need to know before the election
Law puts new restrictions on voting
WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Perhaps the most significant change that is coming to Texas this election season is Senate Bill 1.
The law will now put new restrictions and new requirements for voting, some of which include fewer early voting hours, more regulations for mail-in voting such as banning the distribution of applications, and new rules for voter assistance at polls. It’s a problem Political Science Professor Dr. Steve Garrison believes will affect the disabled population.
“It may be a language barrier, it may be motor skills, and they toughened the restrictions on what people can do to assist a voter and then people that violate those, they’re now criminal violations,” Dr. Garrison said.
And more restrictions have become a double-edged sword.
“It’s placing a lot of burden on the local people that run the elections, and you put them in a position where they say ‘I don’t know what to do. If I do this, I may get a criminal charge, but if I don’t do anything, I’m not going to get in trouble.’ So, what’s the average person going to do? It kind of appears in the State of Texas that we’re going back a little bit,” Dr. Garrison said.
Mail-in voters will also have to abide by new ID requirements, which include your driver’s license number or the last four of your social security number if you don’t have a driver’s license. They also have to include those numbers on the envelope they send their ballot in, and everything must match up with the State’s record, or the application will be sent back.
Hannah Hall of our sister station, KWTX, talked to another expert about the importance of this step when mailing in your ballot this year.
“Make sure that you do have access to your social security number or driver’s license number or tax identification number so that you can fill out the ballot properly and then fill out the envelope properly as well,” Jeffery Dixon, professor of political science at Texas A&M, said. “Be very careful about following directions.”
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