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VERIFY: How SB 1 will impact November election

Senate Bill 1 made changes to drive-thru voting, 24-hour voting and poll watchers.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Texas Senate Bill 1, which became law last year, restricts how and when voters cast a ballot. Many of you had questions about how that may impact this election.

Will there be drive-thru voting?

Juda asked the VERIFY team, “Are we allowed to drive-through vote this election?

Our source for this is the Harris County Elections Administration Office Deputy Director of Communications Nadia Hakim. She explains, SB 1 eliminates drive-through voting, which became popular during the pandemic, but there will be another option for those who need it.

“For whatever reason, you have mobility issues, you’re not feeling well, whatever the case may be, there is curbside voting at every single polling location. You just have to look for the blue buzzer that they set up around the entrance and you press that from the comfort of your car,” Hakim said.

RELATED: What's in Senate Bill 1?

RELATED: How Texas voting will be different under SB 1

Will there be 24-hour voting locations?

George asked the VERIFY team, “Will there be a place open around the clock for me to go vote?”

The answer to this is no. Twenty-four-hour voting has been eliminated. SB 1 limits the window in which counties can offer voting, which is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Will there be poll watchers?

When you do go to vote, you may notice some changes with poll watchers.

They are appointed by a political party or candidate, and they still must go through a training and certification process. But SB 1 gives them more free reign. 

They are now allowed to “sit or stand near enough to see and hear the activity” at a polling place, but they are supposed to stand far enough so they don’t interfere with voting.

“The elections administration office cannot remove poll watchers from a location. It’s up to the presiding judge to do so if the presiding judge determines that they are problematic,” Hakim said.

SB 1 also set new requirements for helping voters with disabilities. Those folks will be required to fill out a form showing their name, address, and relationship to the person they helped cast a ballot.

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