Texas enacts controversial voting rights overhaul

Voting by car, as this Texan did in 2020, is now banned

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law an overhaul on voting rights that introduces sweeping changes to ways Texans can cast ballots.

The enactment of the Republican bill marks a bitter defeat for Democrats, who had fled the state in July in an effort to prevent it from passing.

The law includes a ban on drive-through and 24-hour polling places, and adds ID requirements to vote by mail.

It comes amid a wave of proposed voting overhauls in Republican-led states.

At least 18 states have enacted new voting laws since the November 2020 presidential election, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

Republicans in Texas argue the measures are essential for election security.

“Election integrity is now law in the state of Texas,” Mr Abbott said in a bill signing ceremony on Tuesday. He called the law a “paradigm” for other states wishing to pass election reform bills.

There were no substantial allegations of voting fraud during elections last year in Texas. Democrats and civil rights groups say the bill disproportionately burdens or discourages voters from ethnic minorities, as well as the elderly and disabled.