“SB 2 seems like an acknowledgement by the state that they do a crappy job of educating Texans about voting and a concession that they have no plans to do better,” said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas. For the 2022 election cycle, the Texas Legislature allocated $3.5 million for voter education efforts. Advocates say that’s not enough to reach the more than 16 million registered voters in the state.
“The real problem here is, if you’re increasing the penalty for a crime, you would think the state would take some responsibility for telling people what the law is, so [voters] know not to break the law,” Gutierrez said, adding that the increased penalties could also keep some eligible voters away from the polls. “The public will see this, wonder what is going on and wonder if it’s even worth the hassle of going to vote if there’s voting police out there and if they risk getting charged with felonies if they’re not up to speed on all of the new election laws.”
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