WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new Texas bill that is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) desk takes aim at vote-by-mail requirements. House Bill 3920 lays out new limitations on who can request a mail-in ballot and for what reasons, including limiting what qualifies as a disability and requiring disabled voters who request a mail-in ballot to affirm their eligibility by signing a statement attesting to their physical inability to vote at the polls. The legislation also explicitly states that lacking transportation, having to work or having a sickness that does not prevent a voter from physically going to their polling place are not valid reasons to request a mail-in ballot.
The bill heads to Abbott, who is expected to sign it. It is one of many smaller voter suppression bills that Texas Republicans have pushed ahead as their lengthy omnibus suppression bill S.B. 7 was blocked by Democrats. In the final days of the legislative session, Republicans passed Senate Bill 1113 and Senate Bill 1111, which would allow the Texas secretary of state to withhold state funds from registrars if they do not regularly purge voter registrations and ban voters from using commercial P.O. boxes as their address to register — a practice often used by churches who allow homeless parishioners or those without addresses to use the church P.O. box to register.