May 7, 2021
Today, Friday, May 7, 2021, the Texas House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 7, companion to House Bill 6, also known as the Election Integrity Bill, now named the Election Integrity Protection Act of 2021. The Senate previously passed the bill on April 1. It now passes back to the Senate for final concurrence or reconciliation, before it can get to the governor’s desk.
Log Cabin Republicans of Texas applauds the passage of the amended bill, even with the 18 amendments attached to the bill. Amendments were generally reasonable, though some worthwhile measures could be added back in reconciliation. We do know they did not gut the bill, despite the best attempts of some Democrats, judging by the continuing hyperbolic opposition by the mainstream media. If you catch a news headline that characterizes the bill’s terms as “voting restrictions” or the like, you already know the ideological bent of the author and the publication that sees fit to opine about the news in its reporting. But, in fact the bill restricts little except for modest measures to help ensure votes cast are by real persons, and without undue influence by others.
Regarding claims that bill “restricts early voting hours,” all the bill really does is define the hours more clearly, and no one is likely to notice any reduction in voting hours.
The biggest issue is the “restriction” of the issuance of mail-in ballots to persons who did not request one. But, of course, this issue is actually new with local jurisdictions taking it upon themselves in 2020, with COVID being the justification, to attempt to send unsolicited ballots. The obvious problem with unsolicited mail-in ballots is that millions of people move every year, and inevitably thousands of ready-to-vote ballots would end up in mailboxes for people that no longer live at the delivered address. This poses problems all around, especially for the persons who moved that could find themselves unable to cast a regular ballot.
The bill also clarifies the terms under which poll watchers may observe the conduct of elections, ensuring they can meaningfully observe, and cannot be prevented from duly and legally observing, as happened in some instances in the last presidential election.
The funniest description on what the bill does came from Sarah Labowitz, policy and advocacy director of the ACLU of Texas:
“Under cover of darkness, the Texas House just passed one of the worst anti-voting bills in the country. SB 7 will target voters of color, voters with disabilities and the civil servants who run our elections. Lawmakers advanced the bill with little debate or public input. They know the bill is designed to suppress the vote by making voting harder and allowing poll watchers to intimidate voters. Texans deserve better than to wake up and find out that lawmakers jammed through a law that will make participating in our democracy harder and scarier.”
Oh my. Harder and scarier, you say? Under the cover of darkness? One can almost picture a certain cartoon canine, atop a red doghouse, with a typewriter, beginning his novel with, “it was a dark and stormy night…”
Of course, Texas ACLU is wrong. And also, painfully banal in its fiction-writing.
The right to vote is guaranteed to every citizen. But that right is worthless if the integrity and security of an election, and the principle of one citizen, one vote, are not also secured.
Log Cabin Republicans of Texas supports this effort at ensuring the integrity of elections in the State of Texas.
To contact your representatives at the state legislature:
Directories for the House and Senate.
Additionally, you can also contact:
Gov. Greg Abbott: (512) 463-2000; Facebook (Governor’s Office); Facebook (Fan Page) Twitter (Gov.); Twitter (personal)
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick: (512) 463-0001; Facebook (Fan Page) Twitter (Lt. Gov.); Twitter (personal)
House Speaker Phelan: (512) 463-1000; Facebook; Twitter
Let them hear from you on this and other issues. It does make a difference.