Beto O’Rourke launches tool allowing Texas voters to register at home

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-Texas) voter mobilization organization launched a new voter registration tool on Thursday, days after the Texas legislature approved a controversial elections overhaul bill that many say will restrict access to the ballot box.

The group, Powered by People, launched the “Drive-to-You” program, an on-demand voter registration service that will allow eligible Texas voters to register to vote from their homes.

According to a press release from the organization, any Texas voter in an eligible county will be able to call a phone number and deploy a team of volunteer deputy registrars to their home, workplace or any other location to help them register to vote.

New counties are being added to the list of eligible areas almost every day, according to the group.

The organization cited the passage of S.B. 1 in the state legislature when announcing the new initiative.

The bill seeks to restrict a handful of voting procedures and increase the access of partisan poll watchers.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is expected to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.

The organization said that Texas is home to “some of the most restrictive election laws in the country,” contending that those facts are why the state has low voter registration and turnout rates when compared to the rest of the country.

The lead organizer of the program said the new legislation will only make their efforts more difficult.

“Texas is already the hardest state in which to register to vote and cast a ballot, and the passage of SB 1 will only make it harder,” Cynthia Cano, senior adviser at Powered by People and lead organizer of the Drive-to-You voter registration service, said in a statement.

“We’re meeting these new obstacles to the ballot box by meeting people where they are to make it as easy as possible for folks to register to vote,” she added.

Texas Democrats worked to block the passage of the bill in the legislature, staging a walkout and fleeing the state for more than a month to deny Republicans a quorum to convene a special session.

A number of members, however, ultimately returned to the state in August.

O’Rourke, who has in the past waged unsuccessful bids for the Senate and White House, has remained quiet on if he will launch a campaign for Texas governor.

In May it was reported that he was considering a run to unseat Abbott.

In July, however, he told The Dallas Morning News that he does not know what comes next for him.

“I don’t know. But whatever form it takes, I’m committing myself to public service in Texas and for Texas,” O’Rourke said.


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