AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Mobile voting, where county elections officials bring equipment to places like nursing homes, may soon be illegal in Texas.
State senators passed a bill to ban moving polling locations during early voting. The bill requires any polling place to remain at the same location throughout the early voting location.
Supporters of the bill say it keeps authorities from giving some people an easier way to vote, while excluding others from that opportunity.
During the debate on the floor, Sen. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio) asked senate sponsor Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) for clarification about the problem the bill was trying to solve. Huffman gave an example of voting locations for a school bond election being temporarily placed at a school district’s headquarters.
Opponents of the bill say it hurts elderly voters. It’s common for election officials to send mobile voting units to homes for seniors who can have a difficult time getting to the polls.
But supporters of the bill blocked an amendment to create an exemption for nursing and retirement homes.
“I think it’s fair to voters to have consistency in where polling locations are located,” Sen. Huffman said.
“We have a long early voting period which would allow those who have to make arrangments to vote, they have time to do that.”
The amendment failed along party lines. The bill passed a few moments later by a vote of 20-11. The measure now goes to the Governor.