Court blocks new restrictions on voters’ assistants in Texas

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Texans who assist voters with disabilities or those with limited English to fill out their ballots will no longer face felony charges if they go beyond simply helping the person mark or read them.

The provisions were part of the controversial elections bill passed by the Republican-majority Texas Legislature last year, Senate Bill 1.

A federal judge overturned the law’s provisions regarding voter assistance earlier this summer, and the Texas attorney general’s office declined to challenge it.

The provisions also made it harder for voters with disabilities to vote this year, and many ended up voting without an assistant, said Lisa Snead, a litigation attorney at Disability Rights Texas.

“A lot of folks with disabilities did not want to put their personal care attendants in a position of having to swear an oath that they would not be able to swear, that would not be true because they had provided more assistance than that, and then potentially open them up to criminal penalties,” Snead said. Others were “just concerned that if assistants had to do that, then they would refuse to assist.”

Read the full article, Court blocks new restrictions on voters’ assistants in Texas, on the Houston Chronicle Website.