On Monday, April 8, Texas State Representative Patricia Harless pulled her bill, HB 2093, which would shorten the early voting period in the state after receiving opposition in the House Elections Committee. The bill would have shortened the amount of early voting days from fourteen to seven.
The move means that while the legislation remains pending in committee, it will not be voted on. Representative Harless told to her colleagues it would be a good issue to discuss in the off-season.
The committee mostly heard from those against the bill; a total of 13 people registered to testify against the bill while only three registered to support the bill.
Among those against the bill included members from organizations such as the Texas NAACP, the Texas Democratic Party, and Empower the Vote Texas. In addition, various organizations, including Empower the Vote Texas, sent a letter to the committee explaining their opposition:
In 2011, Florida experimented with reducing its early voting days from 14 to 8. The results were long lines and frustration of voters and election workers, which again subjected Florida to widespread media criticism. Texas should learn from Florida’s mistake and not reduce its popular early voting program. The percentage of voters who use early voting has increased with each election. Fifty percent of voters cast their ballot in the early voting period in 2004, over 66% in 2008 and over 63% in 2012. Early voting has existed in Texas since 1987 and is a system that works here. There is no reason to fix a system that is not broken.
A seven-day Early Voting period will make it easier for election administrators to recruit adequate election workers, while allowing ample time for voters to access the polls.