In Cedar Park, Texas, lawmakers passed a new bill to keep Texas elections safe. Unfortunately, this also includes a side effect that threatens to repeal a measure designed to make it an easier process for senior citizens to partake in voting.
“The primary purpose of the bill was to address some of the issues with voting by mail,” that comes from Secretary of State Interim Legal Director Caroline Geppert. “That tends to be the area here in Texas where we see more complaints of possible fraud or alleged fraud.”
Senior living residents who are disabled choose to vote by mail because they don’t have an alternative way to make it to their local voting hall. While the rate of senior citizens living in Texas increases, it begs the question: will Texas votes be controlled solely by those not thought to be senior citizens? For those not in a senior living condition, such as a nursing home, their rights will still be enacted. It’s a crackdown on mail-in votes, which consequentially targets the majority of mail-in voters, being senior citizens.
“It makes it extremely clear that if you do own someone else’s ballot without their permission, that clearly is a criminal offense,” Geppert continued. “There was just some concern about how that would be implemented and how that would be secure.”
This new measure will negatively affect the way that senior citizens can vote, removing country election official from visiting senior living areas such as assisted living centers. Concerns have arisen by local election officials regarding resources that would bring them into senior living centers. As of now, the program, which was enacted on September 1st of 2017 will be ending on December 1st of the same year. It hasn’t been a popular decision amongst senior citizens.
Linda French, a resident at the Sagebrook SN Health Center, said “I feel very, very strongly about voting.” French says she’s hoping that lawmakers will reconsider. “To put it back, you know, where we can vote in the assisted living facilities.”
Sagebrook SN Health Center Assistant Administrator Marshelda Dozier, who has the senior citizen’s best interests at heart, had this to say: “A lot of them have fought for the right to be able to vote. Just based on their sex or their race, they really pushed to be able to vote and exercise their right.”
Many senior living Texas voters could be losing this rights to mail-in ballots, which has sparked debate among many. This new law, which was passed in the middle of the special legislative session, aims to do more than just increase fines and penalties. The side effect of senior citizens losing their ability to vote could have a crippling effect on the future of Texas votes, both for local elections and the electoral college come time for the next presidential election in 2020.
Information for this article was provided in part by twcnews.com.