State of Texas: Democrats suing state over ban on mobile voting locations

Published by Darron Toy on


(MUSIC) JOSH: THERE’S BEEN A BIG CHANGE TO THE WAY TEXAS HANDLES EARLY VOTING. LAWMAKERS PASSED A BILL DURING THE LAST SESSION THAT BANS MOBILE POLLING LOCATIONS. SUPPORTERS OF THE BILL SAID IT KEEPS AUTHORITIES FROM MAKING IT EASIER FOR SOME PEOPLE TO VOTE COMPARED TO OTHERS – PARTICULARLY IN BOND ELECTIONS. NOW, TEXAS DEMOCRATS ARE SUING THE STATE OVER THAT NEW LAW. THEY CALL IT UNCONSTITUTIONAL. AS STEFFI LEE REPORTS, DEMOCRATS CLAIM THIS WILL HARM VOTER TURNOUT IN TEXAS – WITH PARTICULAR CONCERN FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS AND TEXANS MORE THAN 65-YEARS-OLD. STEFFI: SEVERAL OF AUSTIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE’S CAMPUSES – ONCE SERVED AS MOBILE VOTING LOCATIONS. DR. MOLLY BETH MALCOLM: OUR STUDENT VOTING WENT UP BETWEEN 2014 AND 2018 FROM 31.2 PERCENT TO 65.7 PERCENT. STEFFI: BUT THAT CONVENIENCE IS NO LONGER THERE. AND THE LAWSUIT CLAIMS – REMOVING IT AMOUNTS TO A DISADVANTAGE FOR VOTERS WHO RELIED ON IT. DR. MOLLY BETH MALCOLM, EXEC. VP OF OPERATIONS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS: OUR FACULTY ARE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT IT – AND OUR STUDENTS ARE AS WELL. STEFFI: SUPPORTERS OF THIS LAW BANNING VOTING WANTED TO STOP THE ABUSE OF THE SYSTEM – LIKE IN SCHOOL BOND ELECTIONS. REP. GREG BONNEN/ (R) FRIENDSWOOD: WHERE VOTING MACHINES WILL BE TAKEN TO SCHOOL FACILITIES FOR A WINDOW OF A FEW HOURS. TYPICALLY THIS WOULD OCCUR DURING SCHOOL ACTIVITIES WHERE IT’S ANTICIPATED THERE WOULD BE SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF PARENTS AND TEACHERS PRESENT STEFFI: BUT TRAVIS COUNTY CLERK DANA DEBEAUVOIR SAYS THESE FEW BAD ACTORS DON’T REPRESENT FOR THE WHOLE STATE. DANA DEBEAUVOIR/TRAVIS COUNTY CLERK: WHILE THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN TRUE – OF A COUPLE OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS – CERTAINLY WASN’T TRUE HERE IN TRAVIS COUNTY AND CERTAINLY WASN’T TRUE OF EVERYBODY ELSE – THE CITIES, THE PARTIES THEMSELVES DIDN’T MISTREAT MOBILE VOTING.” STEFFI: WE REACHED OUT TO THE OFFICE OF SECRETARY OF STATE RUTH HUGHS – WHO IS NAMED AS A DEFENDENT. STEFFI: SHE COULD NOT BE IMMEDIATELY REACHED FOR COMMENT. STEFFI LEE FOR STATE OF TEXAS. JOSH: DEBEAUVOIR SAYS TRAVIS COUNTY PREVIOUSLY HAD 61 MOBILE VOTING LOCATIONS. THE COST IT TOOK TO RUN THOSE – LESS THAN 50 THOUSAND DOLLARS. SHE SAYS IT WOULD COST NEARLY ONE MILLION DOLLARS IF THE COUNTY TRIED TO CONVERT ALL THOSE LOCATIONS INTO PERMANENT VOTING SPOTS. REPRESENTATIVE GREG BONNEN FIRST FILED A BILL TO BAN MOBILE VOTING IN 2015. IT WAS PARTIALLY IN RESPONSE TO COMPLAINTS ABOUT A BOND ELECTION AT THE CYPRESS-FAIRBANKS ISD NEAR HOUSTON. THE $1-POINT-2-BILLION DOLLAR BOND INCLUDED MONEY FOR NEW SCHOOLS AND FOR ATHLETIC FACILITIES CRITICS SAID THAT MOBILE POLLING LOCATIONS GAVE AN ADVANTAGE TO VOTERS WHO SUPPORTED THE BOND. BONNEN’S BILL FAILED TO PASS THE 2015 LEGISLATURE. HE BROUGHT IT BACK SUCCESSFULLY IN THE LAST SESSION. BEFORE THE VOTE, BONNEN CLAIMED THE BILL COULD ACTUALLY HELP TEXAS VOTERS. REP. GREG BONNEN: THIS WILL ENSURE THAT NO POLLING LOCATION MAY TARGET CERTAIN POPULATIONS OVER OTHERS. ADDITIONALLY, HB 1888 WILL DETER CONFUSION BY ESTABLISHING THAT POLLING LOCATIONS REMAIN AT A SINGLE ACCESSIBLE PLACE THROUGHOUT THE EARLY VOTING PERIOD. THE PREDICTABILITY IN POLLING PLACES FOLLOWING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS BILL WOULD PROVIDE RELIABILITY AND ACCESSIBILITY FOR ALL VOTERS. BUT DURING THE DEBATE, REPRESENTATIVE CELIA ISRAEL SHARED HER CONCERNS ABOUT THE BILL, AND FORESHADOWED THE LEGAL CHALLENGE FILED LAST WEEK. REP. CELIA ISRAEL: MEMBERS, I SERVE ON THE ELECTIONS COMMITTEE, AND I’M OPERATING WITHOUT NOTES HERE, BUT MY HEART IS TELLING ME THAT YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS. THIS BILL IS VOTER SUPPRESSION. AND IT’S GOING AGAINST THE GRAIN OF WHAT MOBILE VOTING IS INTENDED TO BE. MOBILE VOTING IS INTENDED TO BE FLEXIBLE. MOBILE VOTING MEANS THE ASIAN MARKET IN MY DISTRICT DOESN’T NEED TO HAVE FULL-DAY EARLY VOTING THERE EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK. IT MEANS THE SENIOR CITIZEN CENTER IN MANOR, TEXAS, THAT ONLY HAS PROGRAMMING ON TUESDAYS AND THURSDAYS DOESN’T NEED A MOBILE VOTING SITE THERE EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK. WHAT’S THE PROBLEM THAT WE’RE TRYING TO FIX HERE? IF THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH SOME LOCALS, AS WE HEARD IN COMMITTEE WITH SOME SCHOOL DISTRICTS, THEN TAKE IT UP WITH THE SCHOOL DISTRICT.” JOSH: ISRAEL IS THE CHAIR OF THE TEXAS HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE, A KEY LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THE EFFORT TO FLIP THE CHAMBER FROM RED TO BLUE.


4 Comments

FUCK YOU · November 3, 2019 at 7:49 pm

Cuz they want illegal votes…

Jake Johnson · November 3, 2019 at 8:20 pm

Mobile voting, is another way to circumvent the need for proper Identification. Not to mention, the expense, securing such a system, and the possibility of a vote being challenged. If you don't have ID, don't vote.

Robert Wayne Lewis · November 3, 2019 at 8:43 pm

Stop this senseless suppression of voting!

Valentin Islas · November 3, 2019 at 9:37 pm

GOP know's they are going to lose and want to do anything in their power to stop people from voting… Piece of shit GOP!

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