Texas is one of the hardest states to vote in. Voter suppression disproportionately impacts people of color, particularly Black Americans, people living in poverty, people with disabilities, and first-time voters. Anti-voter policies in Texas today continue the state’s history of racist policies to disenfranchise non-white voters.
Two new dangerous, anti-democratic bills that seek to suppress and disempower marginalized Texas voters are moving swiftly through the legislative process in the #txlege.
Senate Bill 7 (SB 7) and House Bill 6 (HB 6) both violate Texans’ constitutional right to vote and if either pass, put ballot accessibility measures and eligible voter protections at risk.
HB 6 has a hearing this morning, Thursday March 25, at 8AM: House Live Video Broadcasts. SB 7 has a hearing tomorrow morning, Friday March 26, at 9AM: Senate Live Video Broadcasts
These pieces of legislation are a direct response to last year’s historic increase in voter turnout in the state, particularly here in Harris County where the all-time voter turnout record was broken. This effort was driven by the work of grassroots organizers and activists at pro-vote organizations like ours, and our CCPPI partners Houston in Action, MOVE Texas, League of Women Voters, Texas Civil Rights Project, and more, who collaborated with local election officials to expand voter access safely during the pandemic.
SB7 & HB6 are attempts to outlaw the efforts that made this success possible, which happened despite Texas leaders’ efforts to suppress the vote using multiple tactics such as: making it difficult to register to vote, voter ID laws, severe restrictions on vote by mail during a pandemic, and felony disenfranchisement. Check out CCPPI’s infographic Voter Suppression in Texas in 2020 to learn more.
The restrictions proposed in SB 7 & HB 6 include:
Increased penalties for “illegal voting” and unlawfully registering to vote
Prohibits counties from sending out mail-in applications unless the voter requests one
Requires voters seeking to vote by mailed based on disability to provide written documentation from Social Security or a doctor to support their eligibility
Bars drive-through voting, voting in tents or moveable structure,
Requires uniform early voting hours that would end late-night and 24 hour voting used by working class Texans and students
Mandates voter-roll purges
Further limits election watcher requirements and qualifications
Call to Action: Support Texas Voters
All Texas voices deserve to be heard through the vote. Stop SB 7 & HB 6.
MOVE Texas, Texas Civil Rights Project, and Houston in Action share the same petition. So click any of those three links and sign on!
Call your representatives and use this sample language for your phone calls.
If you or someone you know is not registered to vote, begin the registration process here.