Texans overwhelmingly believe mail-in ballots should have the same standard for voter identification as in-person voting, and that mail-in ballots should be available only to those who truly cannot vote in person. The new poll shows that several election security and government reforms being debated by the Texas Legislature are on the minds of voters.
Currently, Texas requires voters to show a valid government-issued ID to vote in person, but they need only a signature and no identification to vote by mail. Better than four out of five (81%) of Texans say voting in person and by mail should have the same voter identification requirements. Additionally, 60% of Texans believe vote-by-mail should be available only to citizens who are elderly, disabled, away from their primary residence for work, or serving in the military. Just 27% say vote-by-mail should be available to everyone regardless of whether they can vote in person.
These results are found in a new poll of registered voters in Texas conducted by WPA Intelligence for the Texas Public Policy Foundation from March 6-10, which has a margin of error of +/-3.5%.
Several pandemic-related government reforms unite Texans. Fully three-quarters of all voters say local governments should get voter approval for large tax increases sought during a disaster. And 62% support legislation to limit emergency declarations to a period of 30 days, at which time the Legislature would need to authorize an extension. Just 21% would oppose that reform.
Other policy highlights:
- Illegal immigration is now tied with jobs and the economy as the most important issue facing Texans today. The number of Texans who see immigration as the top issue has tripled since September of 2020. Health care is tied with infrastructure improvements for second.
- On virtual education, 74% say Texas school districts should have the authority to decide whether or not to provide virtual education options. And 84% say if a school district decides to not provide virtual education, parents should have the ability to enroll their child in a school district that does provide a virtual education option.
- Just 29% of Texans believe that Texas history is being taught well in schools, with 47% disagreeing.
- A majority of Texans (52%) say the state should not sign contracts with companies that refuse to do business with the oil and gas industry. Texas relies on the economic benefits of the oil and gas industry as well as its revenue to fund essential government functions such as public education, infrastructure, and policing.
- Following the blackouts last month, nearly seven in 10 Texans (69%) oppose local governments banning the use of natural gas for the heating of homes. Some cities in California and Massachusetts have banned new natural gas hookups in some buildings.
“To no one’s surprise, Texans continue to keep a close eye on legislative activities this year,” said TPPF’s Chief Communications Officer Brian Phillips. “So far, it looks like attitudes about the session are generally positive, but Texans want to see significant action on election security, pandemic-related government reforms, and ensuring the lights stay on all the time. Increasingly moving to the forefront is the crisis at the border, which they expect federal officials to handle. But should the Biden administration continue to make things worse, Texans will want our state leaders to step in.”