Texas bill toughening voting crimes advances over protests

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Putting false information on a Texas voter registration form would become a felony offense under a sweeping elections bill advancing through the Legislature over protests from civil rights groups.

Republican say the measure that tentatively passed the Texas Senate on Monday would safeguard elections. The bill would also make it a misdemeanor to impede access to a polling location.

Democrats say the bill threatens people who make honest mistakes on their registration forms with jail time.

The bill is advancing at a time when Texas' elections are under scrutiny.

A federal judge in February ordered Texas to halt a bungled search for illegal voters after state elections officials wrongly questioned the U.S. citizenship of tens of thousands of people.