AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Texas Politics Project along with the Texas Tribune polled Texans back in June to gauge how Republicans and Democrats in our state feel about the hot-button voting issues that have pushed our state lawmakers into the national spotlight.
When asked how often ineligible voters are allowed to vote, a majority of Texas Republicans who responded to the poll said they think it happens sometimes, or frequently, while most Democrats think it’s rare, Texas Politics Project director Jim Henson explained.
“Similarly, if you ask Texans, how often do you think ineligible voters are allowed to vote, which is kind of the nub of the objection of Republicans, a huge majority of Republicans think that that happens all the time. Democrats think it doesn’t happen hardly at all,” Henson said.
Henson pointed out the lack of widespread voter fraud in Texas, but said Republicans are using the few, rare cases over the past decade to defend their proposed legislation.
“Our elections are generally fine. But there are these isolated incidents, mostly in local elections, we can point to a small number of cases. But those cases matter, because in a sense, we should have something close to zero tolerance for this. And so that’s been kind of the battle that’s going on,” Henson explained.
Despite opinion, legislators in both parties have self-interest in passing bills aligning with those core party beliefs.
“Republicans have an interest in the electorate not changing very much from the way that it is now, because they’ve been winning elections for 20 years,” Henson said. “Democrats have a real interest in expanding that electorate, because the low turnout groups that we know are out there younger voters, voters of color, tend to vote disproportionately for Democrats.”
Democrats claim the new voting bills would disproportionately impact working voters by banning 24-hour voting and drive-thru voting, both of which were implemented and used in urban areas in Texas in the 2020 election.
But, Republicans argue all 254 counties in the state need to have uniform voting rules, and the proposed legislation would not make it harder to vote, just harder to cheat.
The House Democrats have vowed to stay in Washington, D.C. through the end of this special session to kill the voting bills, but, the Governor can simply call another special session immediately upon their return.