Texas Counties ‘Disenfranchised Voters’ By Closing Too Many Polling Places, Say Advocates

A survey found that 33 Texas counties broke election laws by providing fewer polling locations than the state requires.

By Paul FlahiveMay 13, 2020 10:37 am, , , ,

From Texas Public Radio:

For the better part of a year, Zach Dolling analyzed Texas’ 254 counties for a handful of election code violations.

The lawyer with the Texas Civil Rights Project discovered that nearly three dozen counties — from urban to rural, with cities big and small — broke election laws. That’s because the number of polling places in 2018 was as much as 270 below what Texas requires.

“These 33 counties collectively have about 4 million registered voters in them. So, in one sense, it affected all of those voters,” Dolling said. “Because for every missing polling place, that means more longer lines, more people at the remaining polling places.”

Dolling sent counties demand letters about their violations — which ranged from not having a voting center in an area largely made up of people of color, to improperly combining precincts, to having more than 5,000 registered voters in a precinct and reducing polling places or voting centers below the legal amount.

Some counties were embarrassed to hear from him, not knowing they were out of compliance, others didn’t respond. But most did and committed to make changes before the November election.

“And then there were a couple of counties that even after a back-and-forth, basically said, it’s just too hard for us to fix these issues right now. We’re just going to wait until after the census and the redistricting that follows that,” he said.

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