While most people agree it should be easy to vote and hard to cheat, Texas voters are split over what type of changes, if any, should be made to the state’s voting rules and how well the Legislature addressed the priority issue this session.
According to a recent poll, registered voters are almost evenly divided on whether the rules for voting in Texas should be made more or less strict or stay the same.
Most voters surveyed, 35 percent, say Texas’ voting rules should be more strict. Another 29 percent say the rules should be less strict, while 26 percent say they should be left as they are now.
Opinions are more sharply divided by party.
Sixty percent of Republican voters think the state’s voting rules should be more strict, compared to 9 percent of Democrat voters. Fifty-four percent of Democrats said the rules for voting should be less strict, compared to just 4 percent of Republicans.
A plurality of Texas voters who identify as Independents (33 percent) says voting rules should be more strict. The remainder is about evenly split between making rules less strict, leaving them as they are, and no opinion.
Pollsters gave no examples of specific rules or changes that might be made to current election procedures.
While the Texans surveyed were fairly evenly divided in their views of how often voters break election laws, ineligible voters vote, or eligible voters are prevented from voting, partisan splits are more drastic—correlating to differences in how each party believes voting rules should be changed.
The poll found voters are also evenly divided on Texas legislators’ handling of election and voting laws during the regular 140-day legislative session that ended on May 31.
Forty percent disapprove, either strongly (33 percent) or somewhat (7 percent), while 38 percent approve (22 percent strongly and 16 percent somewhat).
Democrats expressed stronger opinions about the session, with 64 percent strongly disapproving lawmakers’ actions on voting rules, compared to 36 percent of Republicans who strongly approve.
Election integrity was a key legislative priority this session among grassroots conservatives and Texas GOP delegates, but lawmakers failed to pass Republicans’ top-tier comprehensive election reform bill.
Though he has not officially said when election integrity will be addressed, Gov. Greg Abbott has said it will be on an upcoming special session agenda.
The poll by the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas and The Texas Tribune surveyed 1,200 registered voters—48 percent Republican, 40 percent Democrat, and 12 percent Independent—from June 10-21. The margin of error is about 3 percent.