Election integrity or voter suppression? 5 things to know about Texas’ voting bill

Partisan poll watchers

vote, election
A couple walks into a polling center to vote in the midterm elections on November 6, 2018, in Provo, Utah. |

The bill expands the accessibility for partisan poll watchers at polling places, as current state law says watchers are "entitled to sit or stand conveniently near" election workers, according to NBC's Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate.

“Except as provided by Section 33.057(b), a watcher may not be denied free movement where election activity is occurring within the location at which the watcher is serving,” reads the engrossed Senate version of the legislation.

“A person commits an offense if the person serves in an official capacity at a location at which the presence of watchers is authorized and knowingly prevents a watcher from observing an activity or procedure the person knows the watcher is entitled to observe, including by taking any action to obstruct the view of a watcher or distance the watcher from the activity or procedure to be observed in a manner that would make observation not reasonably effective.”

According to the cited exception of Section 33.057(b), a poll watcher “may not be present at the voting station when a voter is preparing the voter's ballot or is being assisted by a person of the voter's choice.”

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