TEXAS, USA — With Senate Bill 1 now signed into law, voters will have new protocols to follow at the polls.
The elections overhaul bill bans drive-thru voting, restricts mail-in voting, sets specific early voting hours and allows poll watchers to move freely throughout polling places.
Supporters say the bill makes voting safer.
This includes Governor Abbott who said, "I'd be astonished if a bill like this was not challenged in court."
Senate Bill 1 is already facing lawsuits from those who say the bill will make it harder for some communities to vote.
"We cannot let anything stop us from our right in this country to cast our ballot," Cedrick Granberry, president of the Tyler area chapter for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) said. "If you feel like it's preferential treatment, do whatever you have to do to get to the polls. Dr. King said 'if you can't run, then walk if you can't walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, don't stop moving.'"
Voting advocates said they plan to bridge the gap themselves.
Michael Fladmark, Chair for the Henderson County Democrats said,
"Voters being able to access the polls reasonably is important. Especially for people with disabilities and the elderly who may have the challenge of even getting to the polls. They need to have access to get there. Providing the ability to do that is something that the county parties are focused on trying to do."
Smith County Elections Administrator Michelle Allcon released this statement about how the system plans to ensure the most equitable voting process for its residents. It reads:
“The Smith County Elections Administration will be implementing the changes needed to meet all requirements of SB 1 by the time these changes take effect. The changes for SB 1 will be implemented with the direction and under the advice of the Texas Secretary of State’s Office, Smith County Commissioners Court and Smith County Elections Commission. At this time we are focused on ensuring that the November 2 Constitutional Amendment Election is a secure, accurate, legal and transparent election.”
The law officially takes effect Dec 2 an will be in place for the spring 2022 primaries.