Texas Democrats Take a Stand Against Restrictive Voting Bills
Texas Democrats staged a walkout in opposition to voting bills Republicans were fast-tracking through the Legislature. The action is an effort to block the bills from advancing. At least 51 Democrats from the Texas House of Representatives left the state, risking arrest.
“Texas Democrats made the bold move needed to combat efforts to suppress our right to vote. Do not think this was a decision made in haste. It was a strategic response to over-the-top efforts by Republicans to silence Texas voters with excessive and unwarranted voting restrictions," said HCDP Chair Odus Evbagharu.
What Are They Opposing
Texas Democrats are opposing Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 3. These bills are aimed at tightening Texas' voting laws. They include bans on 24-hour and drive-thru voting, along with additional restrictions.
Both bills grant partisan poll watchers “free movement” within polling places (except in the actual polling booth during a vote) and make it a criminal offense if voters distances themselves from the watcher or blocks the watcher's view."
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The only goal of these bills is voter suppression.
- Texas is already the hardest state to vote in in the country, and these bills make it even harder for everyone to vote, especially people of color.
- These bills impose unnecessary restrictions on voters and local election officials, while empowering partisan poll watchers.
- Fighting voter suppression is bigger than partisan politics, this is the difference between right and wrong.
- Voting is fundamental to our democracy. No one should be supporting bills that deny people their right to vote.
- Especially not in a state where last year, a Black man voting at an HBCU had to wait in line until 2am to cast his ballot.
- Texans already face so many barriers to cast their ballots — no online registration, a harsh deadline to register, a two-step process to vote by mail, limited drop off boxes — we need to find ways to increase access, not put up more barriers to participation.
And in particular, the goal is the suppression of voters of color.
- Texas has a long history of suppressing the votes of people of color. From poll taxes to whites-only primaries, our state legislators have long used their power to restrict the right to vote.
- These bills encourage regular voter purges, which the state has used as recently as two years ago to target Latinx voters.
- It increases the potential for criminalization of public servants, volunteer election workers, and voters by the Attorney General’s elections unit -- which is known for targeting of people of color for prosecutions.
- Our state leaders are scared of the changing Texas electorate, and they are changing the rules to shut younger, diverse voters out of the process and protect their own power.
- This also follows a national playbook seen in Georgia and other southern states implementing Jim Crow 2.o.
What can you do to help?
We must make sure we register as many voters as we can & re-elect our local State Legislators who took this bold move to save democracy! Donate today: https://www.harrisdemocrats.org/donate