New Texas voting law rejecting US citizens from rolls

By Acacia Coronado, Paul Weber and Nicholas Riccardi | Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — A sweeping new Texas voting law that Republicans muscled through the Legislature last year over dramatic protests is drawing fire again, even before some of the most contentious restrictions and changes kick in ahead of the state’s first-in-the nation primary.

Thousands of Texans — including some U.S. citizens — have received letters saying they have been flagged as potential noncitizens who could be kicked off voting rolls. And this week, local elections officials said hundreds of mail-in ballot applications are being rejected for not including required new information.

“It’s just a bad situation on a number of levels,” said James Slattery, an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, one of several voting rights groups that has sued the state over the new law.

The Texas law was approved last year by Republicans, who joined their party colleagues in at least 18 states, including Florida, Georgia and Arizona, in enacting new voting restrictions since the 2020 election, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. The national GOP campaign to tighten voting laws has been partly driven by former President Donald Trump’s false claims that he won the election, not President Joe Biden.

Democrats have strenuously objected — including by walking out and to gridlock the Legislature, warning it could disenfranchise untold numbers of voters, especially Black, Latino and Asian people. Many of its provisions, such as expanded powers for partisan poll watchers, don’t take effect until the election. But Democrats and civil rights groups say what has happened so far is alarming.

First, Texas sent letters to more than 11,000 voters warning them their registrations will be canceled unless they prove to their local elections office they are citizens. More than 2,000 registrations ended after the voters did not come in, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s office. But some who received the warning letters were citizens.

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Monty Tew, a 52-year-old who was born in Texas, said he couldn’t understand why he got the letter asking him to prove his citizenship. He said he paid $30 to request a copy of his birth certificate, which he then sent the county a picture of as proof of citizenship and was soon notified the issue was resolved.

“I feel fortunate for that not to have been that big of a deal, it wasn’t that burdensome,” said Tew, of Round Rock, a city outside Austin. “But I can imagine how that can be a much bigger flogging for someone else perhaps, if they didn’t have their hands on technology or if paying someone $30 to get something that was a waste of your time, money and effort could be a hassle.”

Then this week, election administrators in some of Texas’ largest counties, which are run by Democrats, began raising early alarms about hundreds of mail-in ballot applications they’ve had to reject for not complying with strict new provisions.

Tucked into the 76-page law is a new requirement that voter include either their driver’s license number or …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News

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