EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Proposed voting restrictions spearheaded by Republican lawmakers are not law in Texas, yet, but the El Paso County Commissioners Court is already considering whether to challenge the legislation in court.
The item is on the county’s Thursday morning special meeting. And, it may continue to be as the commissioners court weighs its options in contesting the statewide proposal.
The new rules aim to prohibit the practice of sending unsolicited applications to vote by mail and puts limits on early-voting. The proposals also call for a ban on drive-thru voting, restricting schedules for extended voting hours and require large counties to redistribute polling places, which may impact minority communities.
For now, the legislation, SB 7, sits in the legislative branch of Texas government.
“It saddens me because we saw a huge influx in voters that use the mail-in ballots,” El Paso County commissioner of Precinct 2 David Stout said. “It tripled, basically. That means, what we did worked.”
Stout is a proponent of litigating the law if the legislation is signed by Governor Greg Abbott.
The commissioner says many existing voting tools helped uplift residents participate in the election process during the pandemic, when flexibility was needed to maintain COVID-19 precautions.
“We are adamantly against these voter suppression laws,” Stout said. “They’re aimed at suppressing the vote of the exact people that we all represent. Hispanic people. People of color.”