Restrictive Texas voting bill advances to floor vote
As written, HB 6 indicates that the path to ensuring “electoral integrity and security” will be through “increasing criminal sanctions” and “creating criminal offenses”. Democrats and suffrage activists said this was a voter repression tactic that would disproportionately affect color communities.
“We believe that if these provisions become law, Anglo-observer-slash-vigilantes will disrupt polling stations, especially in places where colored people are voting (from) inside the polling station, and that will make voters so uncomfortable they just leave without casting their vote, “said Nina Perales, who serves as vice president of litigation for the Mexico-US Legal Protection and Education Fund, during a press conference Wednesday.
In its current form, the bill makes it a state crime for election officials to send mail-voting requests to voters if they have not individually requested the forms.
In HB 6, even if the voter needs help for medical reasons, people helping voters to cast their votes are required to submit documents explaining why the voter needs help. The person assisting the voter must also provide their own personal contact information and indicate their relationship with the voter.
In addition, the bill extends access for election observers within polling stations, stating that an election observer can only be removed “if the election observer is engaged in activities that would constitute an electoral fraud-related offense”.
Austin, Texas residents will be lining up in record numbers on April 27, 2021 to vote early on community issues.
Voting advocates refer to this provision as an example of how the bill would encourage voter intimidation and state that the bar is very high for expelling an election observer who may otherwise behave unsavory. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, a bipartisan, independent organization that analyzes electoral rules, the bill essentially “restricts the ability of election officials to protect voters from illegal interference and harassment by” observers “”.
“If an election observer starts yelling, yelling or arguing with a voter, lying on the floor or beating pots and pans, the election officials would not be able to throw these people out. That would be.” a crime. The only recourse for the election worker would be to call the police and hope that the police would come, “Perales said.
Thursday’s vote is sure to spark another round of backlash from prominent Democrats and suffrage activists who have spent weeks deciphering the Republican urge to push double electoral bills in both the House and Senate. Former presidential candidates and locals from Texas, Julian Castro and Beto O’Rourke, and voting rights attorney, Stacey Abrams, have all spoken out against advancing the bill.
An American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX aircraft takes off on a test flight from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas on December 2, 2020.
In addition to high-profile political voices, corporate giants such as American Airlines, Microsoft, Dell and Unilever spoke out against the legislation that developed through the Texan legislation following the effects of the revised electoral laws in Georgia.
On Tuesday, more than 50 companies, corporate groups and industry leaders signed a letter in which they “urged lawmakers to uphold our always elusive core democratic principle: equality”.
“We stand together as a bipartisan coalition calling on all elected leaders in Texas to support reforms that make democracy more accessible and to oppose changes that would restrict voters’ access to the ballot,” the letter said.
Senator Ted Cruz speaks during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol on April 29, 2021 in Washington, DC.
The state’s top Republicans have repeatedly expressed their opposition to corporate giants weighing on the progress of the bills as many corporations continue to grapple with their positions against the legislation. A Republican-backed proposal to financially punish companies that “publicly threatened any adverse action” against Texas in their opposition to the electoral law was even briefly discussed during the state’s budget debate in April.
Ultimately, the proposed change was not incorporated into the budget, thereby removing the comments from Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in April when asked if companies criticizing the state’s electoral laws should lose financial incentives.
“This is not a consideration, we don’t punish people for disagreeing with us,” Patrick said at the time.
“Enough is enough. Companies that are blatantly misrepresenting efforts to protect our elections must be called, singled out and cut off,” said Cruz.
Across the aisle, in one of the state’s most diverse cities, two of the region’s top Democrats – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo – refused their respective “state” on Wednesday City and State to Have The county’s events are produced by the city’s chamber of commerce, the Greater Houston Partnership, via the ongoing voting rights debate.
The couple said the decision was in response to the organization’s lack of explicit opposition to advancing the state’s ballot papers, including HB 6.
“There is nothing partisan about voting suppression … if there are bills that deal with voter suppression, voter intimidation and restriction of access to polling stations – that is not partisan, it is just completely wrong,” said Turner at a press conference urge business leaders to make greater strides in opposing the law before it goes into effect.