As Republican lawmakers in major battleground states seek to make voting harder and more confusing through a web of new election laws, they are simultaneously making a concerted legislative push to grant more autonomy and access to partisan poll watchers — citizens trained by a campaign or a party and authorized by local election officials to observe the electoral process.
In Texas, the Republican-controlled Legislature is advancing legislation that would allow them to photograph and video-record voters receiving assistance, as well as make it extremely difficult for election officials to order the removal of poll watchers.
The video-recording measure has particularly alarmed voting rights groups, which argue that it could result in the unwanted identification of a voter in a video posted on social media, or allow isolated incidents to be used by partisan news outlets to craft a widespread narrative.
“It seems like the No. 1 goal of these laws is to perpetuate the Big Lie,” said Dale Ho, the director of the Voting Rights Project at the A.C.L.U
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