A recent study from Northern Illinois University has determined it is harder to vote in Texas than any other states. The study says even registering to vote remains a big challenge.
“It’s not a coincidence that Texas is seen as one of the most restrictive states in terms of voting, but it’s also seen as having one of the lowest rates of voter turnout,” said Texas A&M University Central Texas Assistant Political Science Professor John Koehler.
Koehler says a major problem in the process is due to the voter registration process.
“You have to register 30 days before Election Day in person. Some states allow you to register on Election Day,” said Koehler
Koehler says early voting periods in Texas are typically shorter than other states, although this year, Gov. Abbott did okay three weeks given the pandemic.
“Many states have four even three weeks of early voting whereas Texas has just under two weeks,” said Koehler.
The study claims the Lone Star State has fewer polling place in some parts of the state by more than 50% and allows only one ballot drop-off box per county.
The state generally only allows people 65 years and older or with severe medical conditions to vote by mail, but in many other states that’s not the case.
“You see a major increase in mail-in voting across the country, and most of those people are choosing to use mail-in ballots because of some concerns over COVID or simply to avoid the long lines and polling places, but we don’t have that options as Texans,” explained Koehler.
While some believe Texas' voting process has problems, some believe the process is simple. LaToya Lewis said voting only took her 5 to 10 minutes.
“I didn’t have any issues. They only ask for my photo ID. They didn’t ask my voter registration card or nothing like that. If you make it a priority, you’ll get in and you’ll get out,” said Lewis, a Killeen resident.
Kohler said despite the restrictions, the state has registered more than 1.8 million voters since 2016, which could mean a higher turnout in this presidential election.
Kohler also said the state is offering people more opportunities to register to vote when they apply for a new or renew their Texas license or change their address.