New study ranks Texas 46th in the nation for voting access, a decline from the prior year

The Lone Star State's drop was largely due to the passage of a Republican-championed bill that further restricted poll access.

click to enlarge Voters waiting in line to cast their ballots at Lion's Field in San Antonio. - Sanford Nowlin
Sanford Nowlin
Voters waiting in line to cast their ballots at Lion's Field in San Antonio.
Texas, which last year passed a sweeping bill making it more difficult to cast ballots, now ranks 46th in the nation for voting access, according to the nonpartisan 2022 Cost of Voting Index.

The report, published in Election Law Journal, ranks states by their relative “cost of voting," including how easy it is to register, cast ballots, access early voting and vote absentee.

Texas ranking slipped from 45th last year largely based on its passage of Senate Bill 1, a law championed by Gov. Greg Abbott and Republican lawmakers that banned practices such as drive-thru voting and 24-hour voting, according to the analysis.

The elimination of those conveniences, adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic, will make it harder for the state to deal with elections in event of a future health crisis, the study notes.

"Moreover, voting still is not easy in Texas," the report's authors added. "The state, previously ranked 45th, did not have a lot of room to fall. The state does relatively better than four other states, principally, because it provides citizens a full 13 days of early voting."

Texas Republicans defend their voting restrictions as an effort to shore up election security. However, civil rights groups argue the state GOP wants to make it harder for young people, poor people, people with disabilities and other likely Democratic voters to cast ballots.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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