WASHINGTON, D.C. — Texas Republicans filed a bill today to limit early voting hours across the state. House Bill 2293, authored by Rep. Jared Patterson (R), would only allow early voting between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Patterson justifies this restriction as a method to align voting times with county clerk operating hours, but the move is a clear attempt to limit access to the vote.
In the 2020 general election, Harris County introduced new 24-hour early voting locations. The county — a Democratic stronghold in the state — sought to expand voting access “for those that work all day, have children to care for, or any other situation that makes going to the polls in the middle of the day difficult,” a county spokesperson explained. As a result of this and other efforts to make voting more accessible, Harris County saw record voter turnout, with more votes in the county being cast in the early vote period alone than in the entire 2016 election.
H.B. 2293 directly targets efforts in the Lone Star State to make voting more accessible. The bill would disenfranchise Democratic voters in Harris County who utilized the 24-hour early voting locations last election, as well as voters across the state who may benefit from such flexible options in the future.
The bill, if passed, would go into effect in September — just in time for 2021’s early voting period.