March 5, 2020/Media, Press

RELEASE: Texas Democratic Party, DSCC, and DCCC Challenge Unlawful Effort to Suppress Votes By Ending Straight-Ticket Voting

 Following Voting Rights Victory in Texas, Democrats Launch New Challenge to Law That Would Eliminate Straight-Ticket Voting & Suppress Minority Votes

Austin, TX — The Texas Democratic Party, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced a new lawsuit to prevent the Texas Secretary of State from implementing a law that would eliminate straight-ticket voting. For more than a century, this practice has been a crucial benefit to Texas voters, who regularly face long lines to vote and whose ballots are among the longest in the country. In the 2018 election, two thirds of voters — more than 5.6 million Texans — used the practice, and as a result were able to cast a vote in every down-ballot race.

Facing the prospect of historic turnout in 2020 and following long lines at voting locations sites lasted long after the polls closed, Texas Republicans have passed a law that, if implemented, threatens to drive up already-high wait times at polling places, disproportionately impacting African American and Hispanic voters who are not only more likely to use straight-ticket voting, but already face higher wait times and greater obstacles to voting — further suppressing minority votes and violating both the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. After leading a successful push to protect voting rights in Texas, Democrats are filing suit today to prevent this law from going into effect.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“The end of straight-ticket voting was yet another Republican attempt to suppress the vote, alter the electorate, and take away power from the rising Texas majority. In minority-majority districts, lines to vote have already proven to be hours long. Ending straight-ticket voting has only made those lines longer and hurt candidates up and down the ballot.

“We thank our partners at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for bringing such an important issue to light. Every Texas voter deserves to be able to vote without experiencing the crush of long lines.”

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto issued the following statement:

“This law is nothing more than a bad-faith partisan effort to undermine the integrity of our elections, and if it is allowed to go into effect it will drive up wait times on Election Day and create yet another needless obstacle to voting. The DSCC stands with Texans in opposing this harmful law, and we will work to prevent Republicans from creating yet another arbitrary barrier to participating in our elections.”

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairwoman Cheri Bustos issued the following statement:

“Republicans see the same thing that we do – their agenda is toxic and they are in trouble in Texas. In response, they are doing what they do best and that means doing everything they can to make voting more difficult for the people fleeing their party in droves. Texas is the center of our battlefield and we will not stop taking on the obstacles Republicans put in place to shrink the electorate as they attempt to cling to power.”

Read this complaint here.

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Texas Democrats will never stop fighting back against all Republican attempts to suppress the vote. We won a lawsuit to force the Texas Department of Public Safety to comply with the National Voter Registration Act. We won against David Whitley. We are in court to reverse the ban on mobile voting. We will not stand any Republican attempt to make voting more difficult for every eligible Texan.