AUSTIN — Texas lawmakers have launched a coordinated attack on voting access this year, with dozens of anti-voter bills rapidly moving through the legislative process.
Black and Latino voters will be disproportionately harmed by this year’s slate of proposals which range from more purges of eligible voters from voting rolls to bans on popular countywide voting options and dangerous new ways to criminalize voting, said Katya Ehresman, voting rights program manager for Common Cause Texas.
“Texas lawmakers are deploying racist and discriminatory tactics with new barriers designed to keep increasing young & diverse Texans from voting, as we are seeing all too clearly this legislative session,” Ehresman said. “This onslaught of anti-voter bills is intended to inundate us, bury us, discourage us — individually, each bill chips a little away from voting rights for many communities, but put them together and it’s potentially devastating for the future of voting in Texas.”
Texas’ legislature meets once every two years, and has to finish its work by May 29th, leaving the public little opportunity to learn about, much less weigh in on, proposals being rushed through the legislative process.
The Senate could vote as soon as today on several anti-voter bills that Common Cause Texas is opposed to, including:
- SB 220 – A bill criminalizing voters for simple voting mistakes, deterring eligible Texans from making their voices heard.
- SB 990 – A bill eliminating the bipartisan and necessary countywide polling place program which has been implemented in and supported in over 90 Texas counties.
- SB 1750 – An election subversion bill that would prioritize partisan politics over voter access by eliminating election administrator officers in large counties where separate offices from the county clerk are needed for efficiency.
- SB 1938 – A bill that would penalize and defund already underfunded election offices with little threshold or accountability.
If passed, those bills will move on to the House for consideration.
In addition, several other pieces of harmful legislation will be heard Thursday in front of the House Elections Committee. The hearing starts at 8 a.m. CT, and can be livestreamed here. Among the most egregious are:
- HB 2809, which proposes pulling Texas out of the valuable list maintenance tool, Election Registration Information Center (ERIC), which strengthens the security of our elections.
- HB 2860, which enables more purges of eligible voters from the roles, increases the criminalization of election administration.
Representatives from Common Cause Texas are available for media interviews this week to speak about the current wave of voter suppression bills.