Texas Republicans have made it clear that voter suppression is a legislative priority, and one of their biggest targets involves Harris County.
State Rep. Jared Patterson filed a bill last week that would restrict voting hours at early voting locations to between 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Twitter, Patterson argued that his bill was filed in response to early voting that occurred in Harris County.
“I filed HB 2293 because of irregularities in Harris County polling hours of operation and the opportunity for voter fraud when no one is looking,” wrote Patterson.
Though many Texas Republicans have claimed the 2020 election was rampant with voter fraud, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has produced only 16 cases, which all involved incorrect addresses.
In 2020, Harris County utilized a number of innovations to safely increase voter turnout in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight voting locations throughout the city held early voting until 10 p.m. and one day of 24-hour voting. The locations were strategically placed in neighborhoods that were most likely to benefit workers with non-traditional hours.
According to the Houston Chronicle, over 10,000 Harris County residents voted overnight from October 29 to October 30. The former county clerk for Harris County, Chris Hollins noted on Twitter that HB 2293 would impact “first responders, medical professionals, and shift workers.”
Last month in his State of the State, Gov. Abbott highlighted five legislative priorities including “election integrity.” After the catastrophic blackout two weeks ago, Abbott amended his priorities to include the winterization of the Texas power infrastructure.
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