The Impact of Texas Senate Bill 1 on the November Election

Senate Bill 1 made changes to drive-thru voting, 24-hour voting, and poll watchers.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Texas Senate Bill 1, which became law last year, limits how and when voters vote. Many of you have wondered about the impact this might have on this election.

Will there be drive-thru voting?

Judah asked the VERIFY team, “Are we allowed to drive-thru this election?”

Our source for this is the Harris County Elections Office of Administration Deputy Director of Communications Nadia Hakim. She explains that SB 1 eliminates drive-thru voting, which has become popular during the pandemic, but there will be another option for those who need it.

“For whatever reason you have mobility issues, you are not feeling well, whatever the case, there is curbside voting at every polling station. You just have to look for the blue buzzer they have installed around the entrance and press it from the comfort of your car,” Hakim said.

RELATED: What’s in Senate Bill 1?

RELATED: How Texas Voting Will Be Different Under SB 1

Will there be polling stations open 24 hours a day?

George asked the VERIFY team, “Will there be somewhere open 24 hours a day for me to vote?”

The answer is no. Twenty-four hour voting has been abolished. SB 1 limits the window in which counties can offer to vote, which is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Will there be survey observers?

When you go to vote, you may notice changes in the poll watchers.

They are nominated by a political party or candidate and still have to go through a training and certification process. But SB 1 gives them more freedom.

They are now allowed to “sit or stand close enough to see and hear activity” at a polling place, but are expected to stand far enough away so as not to interfere with voting.

“The Election Administration Office cannot remove poll watchers from a location. It is up to the presiding judge to do so if the presiding judge determines that they are problematic,” Hakim said.

SB 1 also established new requirements to help voters with disabilities. These people will need to complete a form showing their name, address and relationship to the person they helped vote.

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Norman D. Briggs