Democrats Unveil Voter Protection Law To Counter GOP Suppression


During their last session, the Texas Democrats pulled a neat trick to block Republicans’ attempt to suppress voting rights for Blacks and other people of color, people with disabilities, and those who are elderly. The Texas GOP held late-night sessions and slipped in new portions of the bill at the last minute. So Democrats picked themselves up and afterward congratulated themselves for outwitting the Republicans. This is what they did.

Democrats walked out of the Texas Senate taking the necessary quorum with them. That worked beautifully, but then Texas Governor Greg Abbott called a rare special session. We notice that he did not call one when the state’s electric grill went down, killing 700 Texas residents. But suppressing the vote was more important than that, apparently.

At the Texas Capitol Friday, Democratic State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) and Senate Democratic Caucus showed up at the Capitol and presented Senate Bill 61, the Barbara Jordan Fair Elections Act, according to the Dallas-Ft. Worth CBS affiliate.

Among the many reasons that the Democrats chose to name their bill after Senator Barbara Jordan (D-TX), this is what she did during the Richard Nixon impeachment, according to The Women’s History Organization:

‘Barbara Jordan boldly took center stage. As a lawyer, a congresswoman, and a scholar, Jordan used her public speaking skills to fight for civil and human rights. In 1972, Jordan became the first African American woman to be elected to Congress from the South since 1898.’

The new Texas law proposed by the Democrats would, according to the local CBS station:

  • let people register to vote online
  • ‘automatically register people to vote when they get a driver’s license, and
  • ‘expand access in other ways.’

Senator West said:

‘The act respects Texans ability to choose how they would cast their ballot by expanding the use of vote by mail and expanding the early voting period.’

State Senator Beverly Powell (D-Fort Worth) called upon legislators to consider this bill:

‘Today, we call for a hearing on this critical legislation to be sure every single voice is heard.’

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick addressed the CPAC Convention of 4,100+ conservatives this weekend. Then afterward, he said all lawmakers would like to have a hearing for their own bills. However, there simply was not enough time in this 30-day special session:

‘We’re always willing to listen. But these proposals so far have been rejected and we’re going with Senate Bill One, which is very close to in fact, a little better than Senate Bill 7. So that’s the bill we’re going to pass.’

Democrats also accused Republicans of working to limit voting hours as an attempt to suppress their votes. Patrick argued that there would be more voting hours:

‘Under the House’s version of the bill, HB 3, early voting on most days could take place between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. and on Sundays between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. The Senate bill would allow voting to take place between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. every day.’

Patrick said:

‘There’s nothing in Senate Bill One, nothing that restricts people from voting. Nothing.’

Senator Jordan had an illustrious career:

‘Starting in 1975, she served three terms on the Judiciary Committee. Jordan quickly became a prominent voice on the Judiciary Committee.’

In 1966:

‘Jordan won [her Texas Senate race] and became the first African American woman ever elected to that office. Also, she was the first African American state senator in [the] United States since 1883. During her time as senator she worked to establish a minimum wage law, anti-discrimination statements in business contracts, and a Fair Employment Practices Commission.

‘Jordan was also running for Congress [1972]. Winning by 81 percent, she became the first African American in the 20th century to be elected to Congress from the South.’

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