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Today is Election Day in Texas, the first since Republicans passed Senate Bill 1, an omnibus package of voter suppression provisions.

Following is a statement from Common Cause Texas Executive Director Anthony Gutierrez:

“Texas was already the hardest state to vote in before Republicans passed these laws that made it even harder.

What we’re seeing today is a small preview of what we can expect to see at a far wider scale in November unless the federal government finally takes real action to intervene.

We saw vote by mail applications and ballots rejected at unprecedented rates, poll sites opening late or not opening at all due to election worker shortages, and widespread technology issues.

The state was warned about the potential for these problems when these bills were being heard in committee. Though they had ample opportunity, our Secretary of State instead chose to focus on playing politics and implementation was left to local officials who received little to no guidance or communication from our state’s chief election officer.

Texas’ democracy cannot go on much longer with such unreliable election infrastructure.

Too many Texans, through no fault of their own, are running into problems manufactured by hyper-partisan state leadership and for many of them, the amount of time and effort required to navigate these new processes is just too much.

These issues we’re seeing today will be far bigger problems in November when we have exponentially more people showing up to the polls.

We know the politicians in charge in Texas will do nothing to prevent the issues we’re seeing today from being a problem in November. We need Congress to step up and take action or we’re going to see these problems in much higher numbers, and in more states, in November.

The bottom line is, our elected officials should be making it easier – not harder – for every eligible voter to have their voice heard in our democratic elections. This first election since the passage of SB1 shows that Texas is not living up to that expectation. Our voters deserve better.”