Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) on Sunday claimed that Republicans “want to make it harder to vote and easier to steal an election” after the Texas senate passed a bill to overhaul the state’s election laws.
“The Texas law is shameful, and Republicans clearly in Texas and throughout the country want to make it harder to vote and easier to steal an election. That’s the only way that I can interpret the voter suppression epidemic that we see working its way from one state, Georgia to Arizona to Texas, and all across the country, in so many different ways,” Jeffries said during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union.
“Fundamental to our democracy is the right to vote, self-government, that the American people get to decide and work for a democracy that reflects the voices of all Americans, not just a certain segment, not just conservatives, not just Republicans, not just people in certain parts of the country, all Americans,” he said.
The bill, if signed into law by Republican governor Greg Abbott, would ban drive-thru voting and 24-hour voting. It would require voters to request absentee ballots instead of allowing election officials to send applications to all voters.
The legislation would curtail the use of drop boxes and set early-voting hours from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. It would also prohibit the use of temporary structures as voting facilities and would bolster access for poll observers. It imposes new penalties for poll workers who violate rules in a way that is deemed to interfere with the voting process.
President Biden criticized the bill on Saturday, calling it “un-American.”
“Today, Texas legislators put forth a bill that joins Georgia and Florida in advancing a state law that attacks the sacred right to vote. It’s part of an assault on democracy that we’ve seen far too often this year—and often disproportionately targeting Black and Brown Americans,” Biden said in a statement.
“It’s wrong and un-American. In the 21st century, we should be making it easier, not harder, for every eligible voter to vote,” he said.
However, the bill’s author, Republican state representative Briscoe Cain, said the legislation aims to protect voters and prevent future election crimes. The bill was not crafted in response to the 2020 elections, which he believes were fair, he said.
“The Constitution commands the legislature to pass legislation to attack fraud and to preserve the purity of the ballot box, and I’ve seen a lot of polling suggesting the trust in our elections process is down,” he said.
Texas is one of several states to advance new voter laws in the wake of the 2020 election, including Georgia and Florida.