Texas GOP’s controversial voting legal guidelines are shifting ahead in a particular session – Houston Public Media
The Texas State Capitol Building in Austin.
After a nightly weekend hearing, Texan lawmakers put forward a controversial package of election restrictions. It’s the second push for action. The Democrats had dropped out prior to a previous vote during the regular legislature.
Throughout the night from Saturday to Sunday morning, hundreds of witnesses came to the Texas Capitol to testify on Senate Law 1 and House Law 3.
The bills are the latest efforts by Republican lawmakers in several states to pass laws that make voting harder – especially for people of color. Supporters say it is a matter of voter integrity – a claim many witnesses have questioned.
“My name is Cloey Goodman, I represent myself here and there is no evidence of widespread electoral fraud here in Texas,” Goodman said. “I know you’ve heard anecdotes, but anecdotes are not a good basis for law.”
Jack M. Finger, a Republican from San Antonio, testified that Texas has several voting options – including a two-week early vote.
“How much more does Texas have to bend backwards for the voter?” he said. “And voting shouldn’t be easy. Our men died for that.”
This is the second time this summer that Texan lawmakers have wrestled with electoral legislation. Members of the Democratic House of Representatives had previously destroyed this election restriction law with a work stoppage committee for the quorum. This forced Governor Greg Abbott to call a special meeting. Two of the most controversial elements are gone – the limitation of election times on Sunday mornings and the permission of a judge to discard election results without evidence of fraud.
However, the legislation continues to ban drive-through and 24-hour voting, make mail-in voting more difficult, increase criminal penalties for election errors, and give partisan election observers more powers at polling stations.
Historically, voter suppression laws:
– elimination of voting means or methods,
-Add requirements for voting or
-Create ways to discard votes. # HB3 does all three. #txlege
– Diego Bernal (@DiegoBernalTX) July 10, 2021
Voting advocates – such as former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke – said they continue to oppose the law.
“Regardless of whether it is a question of ending the 24-hour vote or giving the election observers a free hand, or making it more difficult to vote by postal vote or postal ballot, it will be more difficult for those who should have a say in our elections don’t make it easier. “
During an appearance on Fox News on Sunday, Governor Abbott stated that the bill was needed. He said the ban on drive-through voting protects voter privacy.
“You will have people in the car – and it could be someone from your employer or someone else – who could be some kind of coercive effect.”
Chris Wallace to Texas Governor Greg Abbott:
“The question is, why are some Texans being made harder to vote unless the aim is to suppress voting by colored people?” pic.twitter.com/tFXnYcHddm
– Poli Alert (@polialertcom) July 11, 2021
Abbott compared the Texas vote to President Biden’s home state of Delaware.
“It’s a lot easier to vote, and yet nobody claims there is some kind of voter suppression going on in Delaware,” he said.
In the last election, the turnout in Texas was 60 percent. In Delaware it was 70 percent.
The Conservative Political Action Conference – or CPAC – was held at I-35 in Dallas that weekend. Abbott didn’t speak, but Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick opened the conference and discussed the importance of the Texas elections to Republicans across the country.
“In Texas, we’re the last man left … If we fall, America will fall. The NY, CA … votes taken together mean we could never again elect a Conservative … to the WH. I can you say it as the lieutenant governor of this great state … we will never allow that. ” pic.twitter.com/AsBXPgBdFI
– Acyn (@Acyn) July 9, 2021
In Austin, the Senate hearing lasted 14 hours. The Texas House committee heard witnesses through 6:00 a.m. Sunday.
Both committees passed their electoral laws and they will have a majority vote in the coming days.
The question remains: what will the Democrats do this time?
“I’m here to tell you that all this hateful rhetoric – all this hateful legislation must come to an end,” said Armando Walle, a Harris County representative. “But we are here now. And we’re going to fight those bills tooth and nail. And all options are on the table. We will use all parliamentary means at our disposal to stop these bills. “
This could include another exit from the quorum in order to torpedo the law on voting restrictions again.
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This story originally appeared on Texas Public Radio. TPR was founded by and is supported by the community. If you value and are able to appreciate his commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism, please consider your today gift of support.
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