Joe Biden slams bill in Texas restricting voting access as another 'assault on democracy'

Proponents of the law say it is designed to make voting more secure but critics say it aims to make it more cumbersome for people of colour who tend to vote Democratic.

United States President Joe Biden

United States President Joe Biden Source: SIPA USA

US President Joe Biden has assailed a voting bill in Texas as an attack on democracy, as it lines up to become the next Republican-led state to restrict voting access.

Mr Biden said Saturday Texas is now joining Georgia and Florida in seeking to limit "the sacred right to vote".

"It's part of an assault on democracy that we’ve seen far too often this year - and often disproportionately targeting black and brown Americans," Mr Biden said in a statement after a final draft of the legislation began circulating at the Texas legislature.

Among other restrictive provisions, the Texas law bans drive-in voting, limits voting by mail, and cuts back on voting hours on election day.

Proponents say the law is designed to make voting more secure but critics say it aims to make it more cumbersome for black people, Latinos and other non-whites who tend to vote Democratic.

Republicans say they are acting to head off election fraud, as claimed by Donald Trump in his repeated false assertion that he beat Mr Biden last November and that the election was stolen from him.

Since that election, many Republican-led states have taken up bills that make voting more difficult.

Georgia, which traditionally votes Republican but sided with Mr Biden this time, was among the first to adopt such a law, in March.

Passage of the Georgia legislation triggered a loud backlash, including among leaders of the business and entertainment worlds.

On Saturday, Mr Biden again called on Congress to pass two bills designed to protect and favour people's right to vote without restrictions.

The Democrats' slim majority in the legislature has prevented the bills from being passed.

2 min read
Published 30 May 2021 at 7:26am
Source: AFP, SBS