May 11, 2021/Media, Press

Infamous Anti-Voter Senate Bill 7 Is Only One of Staggering 80+ Republican Voter Suppression Bills Filed This Session

AUSTIN, Texas — Senate Bill 7 (SB 7) passed the Texas House last week and is likely heading to a conference committee this week to reconcile the Senate and House versions. Now rolled together into one shadily crafted, doubly damaging voter suppression bill, Republicans’ SB 7 and House Bill 6 have received national attention for being a barefaced attempt to resurrect Jim Crow. However, racist and harmful as they are, these bills are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Republican efforts to make voting harder for Texans. Texas Republicans have introduced a staggering 80-plus voter suppression bills this legislative session. Some of these include:

  • SB 1340, which could stop over 100,000 eligible Texans from registering to vote, potentially disenfranchising over 10 percent of new would-be registrants. SB 1340 would require many Texans to provide documentary proof of citizenship before being registered to vote, introduce delays between when a voter submits their registration form and when they can actually vote, and enshrine into law parts of Texas’ failed illegal voter purge from 2019.
  • SB 1114 codifies the voter purge from a few years ago — which was shot down by the courts — targeting newly naturalized citizens, who are mostly Latino and Asian-American in Texas.
  • HB 4507 would require Texas to separate its voter rolls for federal elections if federal law required the state to make voter registration more convenient for Texans. This would mean tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Texans would be registered and eligible to vote only for their members of Congress, Senators, and president, but not state legislators or local officials. It is up for a vote on the House floor Wednesday.
  • SB 1529 would create a new intermediate court of appeals that is elected statewide and has exclusive jurisdiction over cases for which the state, a state agency, or a state official is a party. At its core, this is a partisan gerrymandering of the state appellate courts for cases seeking to hold the state government to account.
  • HB 4044 / SB 1113 coerces registrars to cancel voter registrations, even if they believe the registrations are valid and accurate.
  • HB 4364 would give poll watchers free rein in the polling place, making it next to impossible to remove them even for causing serious disruptions — just like the original SB 7 and HB 6 did.
  • HB 3281 makes it less likely mail ballots will be counted, by requiring mail ballots to be mailed by the fourth day before the election and received by the election official the day before Election Day. Current law requires the ballot be postmarked by 7pm on Election Day and received by 5pm the day after Election Day.
  • HB 3556 bans online training for volunteer deputy registrars. These are community members who want to help people register to vote. They would now be forced to attend one of the infrequent, inconvenient training options most counties only offer during the work day on weekdays.
  • And last but not least, Senate Bill 7. This bill is a coordinated attempt to plunge Texas back into the dark days of Jim Crow, with provisions to clear a path for Jim Crow-style voter intimidation and slash voting locations and hours — disproportionately affecting voters of color, Texans with disabilities, and working people.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“With less than one month left on the schedule for Texas’ 87th legislative session, Republicans are ratcheting up their voter suppression efforts even more. Last week, they used a dirty maneuver to combine SB 7 and HB 6 so that they can fast-track this into becoming law and cherrypick the worst parts of these bills behind closed doors. These racist bills are just two of more than 80 voter suppression bills Republicans have filed this session — in a flagrant attempt to plunge Texas back into Jim Crow.

“We still have time to stop Republicans from destroying our democracy. Our right to vote is on the line — especially for communities of color, voters with disabilities, and working Texans, who are being blatantly targeted by Republicans. We are urging Texans and members of the press to hold Republicans accountable and keep the spotlight on the full slate of anti-voter bills the Texas GOP is sponsoring, before it’s too late.”