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Voters cast ballots in El Paso, Texas in Nov. 2018. Photo: Sergio Flores/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas Republicans plan to adjust a proposed restriction for early voting on Sundays following backlash that the rule would disproportionately affect Black American churchgoers, with one GOP negotiator suggesting it was a typo.

Why it matters: Voting rights advocates and Democrats said the Republican effort to limit Sunday voting to 1 p.m. through 9 p.m. would block "souls to the polls," a tradition in Black communities that encourages people to vote after church services.

What they're saying: Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Texas), a negotiator for the state's sweeping restrictive voting bill, said on NPR this week that the proposed time of 1 p.m. was a typo and that the original time was meant to be 11 a.m.

  • "That was not intended to be reduced," Clardy said. "I think there was a — call it a mistake if you want to — what should have been 11 was actually printed up as 1."
  • "Despite his claim, no Republicans raised an issue with the start time during final debate over the bill, and one of them even defended it," the Texas Tribune reports.

What to watch: Texas lawmakers are expected to revisit the bill in an upcoming special session that has yet to be scheduled, per the Tribune, after Democrats left the House floor in protest late Sunday to block the bill.

The big picture: The sweeping legislative package would impose some of the strictest limits on voting in the nation, including bans on drive-thru voting and 24-hour early voting, new restrictions on absentee ballots, and new authorities for partisan poll watchers.

  • The Texas bill comes as Republican-led legislatures around the country lead what President Biden has condemned as "an assault on democracy," inspired by false claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election.
  • Texas Democrats have urged Congress to pass federal voting legislation, but any such reform faces long odds in the deeply divided Senate.

Go deeper

Democrats sound alarms in state legislatures

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats are leaning into efforts to raise their numbers in state legislatures — with an emphasis on candidates of color — as red states like Texas and Georgia pass restrictive voting and abortion laws.

Why it matters: States are responsible for many of the laws with the greatest direct impact on people's daily lives. But Republicans control 30 state legislatures and the GOP has the trifecta — the governorship, state House and state Senate control — in 23 states, while Democrats do in 15.

Updated Sep 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Justice Department is suing Texas over new abortion ban

Pro-choice protesters march down Congress Avenue at a protest outside the Texas state Capitol on May 29, 2021, in Austin, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images 

The Justice Department has sued Texas over its new law banning abortions after six weeks, Attorney General Merrick Garland said in an announcement Thursday, calling the law "clearly unconstitutional."

Driving the news: The lawsuit comes after Garland vowed to "protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services," adding that "[w]e will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services."

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Investors pour millions into immersive, interactive art experiences

Photo Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP via Getty Images

How much would you pay for "a sleek, if pleasantly confusing, package of moods" or "a confusing tangle of disjointed installations" or even "the total erosion of meaning itself"? The answer, according to the current market-clearing price, seems to be about $35.

Why it matters: Investors are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into ticketed experiences — immersive, interactive museum-like spaces that don't have the d0-not-touch stuffiness of traditional museums.