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New election integrity bill causes political division among Southeast Texas leaders

This new law bans drive-thru voting, 24-hour polls, and unsolicited mail-in ballots.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Despite efforts from the Texas Democrats to block the controversial election integrity bill, Senate Bill 1, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law Tuesday.

This new law bans drive-thru voting, 24-hour polls, and unsolicited mail-in ballots.

Opponents of the bill said it restricts voters' rights. Gov. Abbott said this isn't the case, but the election bill is causing quite the division among both Republican and Democratic parties.

Jefferson County Republican Party Chair Judy Nichols said she feels this bill is going to prevent fraudulent elections.

"The bill makes it easier to vote by expanding early voting hours,” Nichols said. “It makes it easier to vote by expanding the abilities of poll watchers to ensure that their candidates and issues are fairly treated, and that's on both sides of the aisle."

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Jefferson County Democratic Chair Joseph Trahan believes this bill is adding more barriers and making it more difficult for people to vote.

“This is not anything to do with election integrity or to make voting easier, but rather to suppress the vote, make it more difficult for voters, particularly young people shift workers and people of color to be able to exercise their vote," Trahan said.

Darrell Antwind with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said minorities who have trouble getting to the polls will be the ones who suffer.

“Don't take away people's rights, just to stay in power, and I think it's going to hurt,” Antwind said. “It's going to hurt some of those people, but we can do whatever we can do as a people. We got it. We got to make sure that people get to the polls.”

But Nichols said she feels the bill will ensure regularity and consistency.

"This bill is not about disparaging any voter, it's much more about adding security and election integrity for all voters," Nichols said.

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