The Facts on Senate Bill 1: Changes in Texas Election Law since 2020
In the aftermath of a persistent myth regarding a stolen 2020 presidential election, partisan policymakers trumpeted measures to reshape, redefine and restructure the way elections are administered and votes are counted by introducing an unprecedented swell of restrictive voting laws and election barriers across the country, and Texas was no exception
In our state, one of the most restrictive voting rights bills was signed into law, banning 24-hour and drive-thru voting, imposing new hurdles on mail-in ballots and empowering partisan poll watchers. Due to the magnitude of these changes, and all of the misinformation spreading online, there is a lot of confusion about what Senate Bill 1 actually does.
Don’t worry, TCRP is here to help you sort it out with a quick and simple guide:
Senate Bill 1 Does:
> Ban drive-through voting
This is not the same as curbside voting, which is still available at every polling place to voters with disabilities
> Ban 24-hour voting locations
> Limit the hours for Early Voting to no earlier than 6am (9am on Sundays) and no later than 10pm
> Make it harder to remove poll watchers who are disruptive from polling locations
SB1 only allows an election judge to remove a poll watcher for violations of Texas Election law if the judge personally observed the violation.
Otherwise, the judge can call the police to remove a watcher who “commits a breach of the peace or a violation of law.”
Senate Bill 1 Does Not
X Does not make it illegal to drive voters to the polls
A person who “simultaneously” provides seven or more curbside voters “with transportation to the polling place” must complete and sign a form containing the person’s name and address and whether the person is also serving as an assistant to the voters.
This does not apply if the driver is related to the voters
X Does not ban Souls to the Polls
X Does not make it illegal to hand out food or water to voters waiting in line to cast their ballots past the 100-foot marker
X Does not make it illegal for anyone to provide general information about voting by mail, the vote-by-mail process, or the timelines associated with voting to one person or the general public
X Does not allow poll watchers to be present at the voting station when a voter is preparing their ballot or is being assisted
X Does not allow poll watchers to video voters inside the polling place
Additional reading and Resources on Senate Bill 1:
Video on Senate Bill 1: What’s Changed and How to Help