We saw proof in 2020–Texans want to vote and they did!
Now, the Texas Legislature is taking up comprehensive election bills that will deter voters and restrict election officials: House Bill 6 Senate Bill 7 in the Senate.
3/30 Update on SB 7: On Friday (3/26), despite many hours of public testimony–the vast majority of which was opposed to its passage–the Senate passed SB 7 out of committee and went to the Senate floor on 3/30. It wasn’t heard before the committee recessed, so it will carry over to Wednesday (3/31). Important, contact your state senator TODAY and object to SB 7! Find who represents you here. Then find the contact info for your senator here.
In the House, the Elections Committee will take up HB 6 in a hearing that starts at 8 AM on Thursday, April 1.
We know that HB 6 would complicate voting and add unnecessary procedures that would subject voters, those assisting voters, and public officials to felony criminal penalties. HB 6 vastly increases criminal penalties for voter law infractions. HB 6 is an anti-democratic and anti-voter assault on the right to vote.
House Bill 6:
- Threatens volunteer workers with penalties and criminal proceedings. These volunteer workers contribute their time to offer fellow citizens the ability to vote.
- Jeopardizes polling place safety by giving poll watchers (who are partisan appointees) unwarranted authority to intrude upon and intimidate voters and election officials.
- Limits the ability of voters to access applications for voting by mail.
- Prohibits elected county elections officials from changing elections processes without first getting approval from the appointed secretary of state.
“False claims of ‘widespread voter fraud’ are being used to severely limit opportunities for voters to cast a ballot. These claims lack evidence and have been disproved in multiple lawsuits. The REAL problems with our election system are the polling place closures, cuts to early voting, onerous voter ID laws, and the illegal purge of registered voters,” according to the League of Women Voters of Texas, a nonprofit, nonpartisan political organization that never supports or opposes political parties or candidates.
(Our thanks to the LWV of Texas for information on this bill.)
CALL, WRITE, OR TESTIFY
Every Texas voter should call or write House Elections Committee members and your own house representative. You can also make a comment online, or even better, testify in person on April 1 at the Capitol.
You can make online comments through the time the hearing adjourns. Fill in your contact information, then select “HB 6 by Cain” and make your comments.
Make a call
We urge you to call the offices of Committee members (contact info below) before the hearing to state your position.
You can say…
My name is _______. I live in ______ and my zip code is _______. I oppose HB 6. This bill would make voting harder for everyone, but especially disabled and disadvantaged voters. It will increase election costs for counties and make it almost impossible to attract election judges and clerks. It would frighten and discourage neighbors from helping others to get to polling places and cast ballots. It would create more problems than it solves and the authors have not even presented facts that prove such changes are needed.
Please oppose HB 6. Thank you.
House Committee on Elections
- Chair: Brisco Cain, 512-463-0733
- Vice-Chair: Jessica González, 512- 463-0408
- Member: Michelle Beckley, 512-463-0478
- Member: John Bucy III, 512-463-0696
- Member: Travis Clardy, 512-463-0592
- Member: Art Fierro, 512-463-0596
- Member: Jacey Jetton, 512-463-0710
- Member: Mike Schofield, 512-463-0528
- Member: Valoree Swanson, 512-463-0572
Testify in person
If you can be at the Capitol in Austin at 8 AM on April 1, in-person testimony will be in room E2.028. Here’s all the information you’ll need.
You can refer to the bullet points above or come up with your own. Many non-partisan organizations (League of Women Voters of Texas, MOVE Texas, ProgressTexas), also have talking points and position papers to review.
WATCH THE HEARING
- Brennan Center for Justice: Voter Suppression in the Lone Star State, Past and Potential Future
- Reform Austin: Cain Prematurely Ends HB 6 Hearing, Blocks Collier From Asking Questions
- Texas Tribune: After slow start, Texas lawmakers pick up the pace on GOP priorities as legislative session passes halfway mark
A Few Messaging Don’ts (from MOVE Texas)
- DO NOT: It is NOT helpful to repeat the GOP’s messaging about “double voting” and “voter fraud.” Even using phrases gives credence to their tactics and messaging.
- Do Not Turn Disinformation Into Debate: Do not buy into any frame that turns disinformation into a key topic of debate. We cede important ground if the idea of postponing the election feels like a real debate–as opposed to a blatantly anti-democratic action.
- Do Not Reinforce Voter Fraud Concerns: Recent research from Reuters/IPSOS shows 74% of voters – including 7/10 Democrats – have concerns about organized voter fraud. Do NOT Retweet–even to debunk!