April 1, 2021/Media, Press

Texas Senate Republicans Pass Racist, Ableist, Anti-Immigrant Voter Suppression Bill

Flagrant voter suppression bill Senate Bill 7 flies in the face of voting rights, leadership, good governance, and federal law

AUSTIN, Texas — Democrats, voting rights advocates, and concerned Texans everywhere are incensed at the passage of voter suppression bill SB7, which Republicans jammed through the Texas Senate Wednesday evening. A unified Democratic Senate Caucus pushed to defeat the bill, and introduced 21 amendments to reduce its negative impacts that will be particularly felt by communities of color, signed by all 13 Democratic Texas Senators.

Together with its evil sibling in the House, HB6, Senate Bill 7 is the most flagrant assault on voting rights our state has seen since Jim Crow — flying in the face of not only decency and good governance, but also federal law. Advocates have noted at length the massive barriers this bill introduces for voters with disabilities and Black and Latino Texans — from all but guaranteeing lines at popular urban polling places and adding onerous requirements for voters receiving assistance, to slashing early voting hours and clearing the way for voter intimidation by poll watchers.

Despite condemnation from advocates, every Democratic State Senator, and Texans who gave testimony last week at the Capitol, Republicans voted for this bill to clear the Texas Senate early this morning, jeopardizing millions of Texans’ right to make their voices heard at the ballot box. Democrats have fought tooth and nail against this assault on Texans’ constitutional right to vote, and will continue to do so — whether in the Texas House or in court.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“Republicans’ actions yesterday will go down in infamy as a racist, terrifying attempt to plunge Texas back into Jim Crow. This is not who we are. This is not what our state stands for. This will do immeasurable harm to Texas communities. Yet Republicans, in their shortsighted, self-serving political games, voted last night to gut the foundations of our democracy: Texans’ constitutional right to vote.

“Texas Republicans are delusional if they expect anyone to accept this legislation without a fight. Democrats, allies, and voting rights advocates are speaking as one, and our message is clear: when Republicans attempt to silence Texans, we only get louder. We will fight tooth and nail to stop this bill from being signed into law, and if it is, we will see Republicans in court. An attack on our right to vote is an attack on our communities and our future. We will not be silenced.”