ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – Advocacy groups are asking government officials to expand voting access amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While cases in the Permian Basin have risen since the re-open Tisha Crow with the Republican Party says it isn’t enough to discuss expanding access to voting.
“That doesn’t concern me in the least because it’s really simple if you walk in to vote somewhere and you go in early voting just like if you were going to a grocery store, just like if you were going to a protest, just like if you were going anywhere else you wanted to go you can do it safely you can walk in if you want to wear a mask wear a mask,” said Crow, the Ector County Republican Chairman.
The Democratic Party said with the pandemic at the forefront of many voters’ minds it’s important the Government looks into expanding curbside voting, early voting, and mail-in voting.
“Even though COVID-19 is still here we still have to vote it is our civic duty, it’s an obligation that we have and it is one of the easiest ways to have your voice heard by your elected officials and just people across the board in government,” said Hannah Horick, the Ector County Democratic Chair-elect.
Crow said voting fraud is a big issue and expanding mail-in voting could increase voter fraud.
“In Texas, we aren’t accustomed to having 80% of our vote be mail-in so the storage for those mail-in and to keep them secure it’s not there. We don’t have the room we don’t have the facilities we don’t have the boxes, the locks. All of those things that means counties are going to have to be spending funds,” said the Ector Country Republican Chairman.
“Right now the penalties are not strong enough, there aren’t enough teeth in those laws. Do I think the legislature should look at that? Absolutely. But to allow anyone and everyone to have the opportunity to do mail-in vote, no,” she added.
Horrick understands voter fraud is a dangerous issue but she says it is not as rampant as Republicans tend to suggest.
“Voter fraud is a very serious issue but it happens so infrequently. In Texas, you have nearly a negligible number of cases. Frankly, any number of voter fraud cases are too many I don’t want to minimize that but it’s not at significantly higher risk just because we are voting by mail,” said the Ector County Democratic Chair-elect.
“More people can vote safely, more people have access to voting that work irregular job hours, especially places like the Permian Basin where folks may work 12-hour shifts that overshadow that 7 a.m. To 7 p.m. polling time,” she added.