Oct 25, 2022 - News

Texas falls further in voting access rankings

Data: Schraufnagel, et al., 2022, β€œCost of Voting in the American States: 2022”; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Texas ranks 46th in the country for voting access, according to the nonpartisan 2022 Cost of Voting Index published recently in the Election Law Journal.

Why it matters: It's harder for everyone to cast ballots here and, politically speaking, constituencies that generally favor Democrats have a harder time getting to the polls.

Details: Ease of voter registration and the availability of early voting, both in person and by mail, were the most heavily weighted in the study, Scot Schraufnagel, a political scientist at Northern Illinois University and an author of the study, told the New York Times.

The trajectory: Texas dropped one spot from the 2020 voting index.

Flashback: Since the 2020 election, Texas banned practices that made it easier to vote during the pandemic, such as drive-thru and 24-hour voting.

  • "However, as best as we can tell, there was no intention to make the 2020 provisions permanent, so banning them is curious," observe the authors. "Importantly, the changes will limit the state's ability to respond to another health crisis. Moreover, voting still is not easy in Texas. The state, previously ranked 45th, did not have a lot of room to fall."
  • What puts Texas ahead of states ranked 47-50? Thirteen days of early voting, per the index authors.

Of note: The 2022 Cost of Voting Index does not capture all the new election law changes since 2020 β€” including Texas' Senate Bill 1, which empowers poll watchers and gives them "free movement" around polling stations.

  • "We will wait to learn more the effect election interference laws have on the cost of voting after these have been in place for at least one election cycle," the authors write.

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