Democrats in Texas State Senate Fend Off Republicans’ Latest Assault On Voting Rights

AUSTIN, Texas — Thanks to a procedural move to delay Senate Bill 7, Democrats in Texas’ State Senate have fended off the most recent Republican assault on the voting rights of Texans, for now.

Early Monday morning, Democratic State Senators Royce West (SD-23), José Menendez (SD-26), Beverly Powell (SD-10), Sarah Eckhardt (SD-14), and Roland Gutierrez (SD-19) made a procedural move to delay a hearing planned for today on SB7, Texas Senate Republicans’ latest extremist attack on voting rights. Texas Democrats are applauding the temporary win, thanks to Democratic State Senators’ leadership, and joining allies in mobilizing to defend Texans’ constitutional right to vote.

Republicans in both the Texas House and Senate have recently introduced a new set of extreme anti-voter bills which, if passed, would gut county elections officials’ powers and slash Texans’ right to make their voices heard at the ballot box.

SB7 includes extremist provisions to make it harder to vote by mail, reduce early voting options, and require voters with disabilities to show a doctor’s note before receiving a mail ballot — moves that would disproportionately limit ballot-box access for Black and Brown voters and working Texans.

Set to be heard on Thursday, House Bill 6 follows suit. HB6 could inhibit political parties, candidates and civic organizations from sending voters key voting resources, such as mail ballot applications, including during elections where vulnerable Texas Republicans Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton stand to lose their seats. It would also make it a felony for public officials to distribute a mail ballot application to anyone who has not requested one, and would force elections officials to allow disruptive partisan poll watchers to stay in polling places.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“I commend our Democratic State Senators for their leadership in defending Texans’ constitutional right to vote. They have managed to slow down Republicans’ relentless assault on our voting rights, but we know we can’t let up for a second. SB7 and HB6 are a shameless attempt to cut out voters in the next election — especially voters of color, working Texans, voters with disabilities, and young people. This is an attack on our constitutional right to vote, and with it, an attack on our communities and our future.

“This is a predictable, last-gasp effort from a party that knows its days in power are numbered. Democrats came just two points away from defeating Republicans in the 2018 Senate race, and in 2020, we closed the gap at the presidential level to the closest margin in decades. Republicans are trying to cling to power the only way they can: by stopping Texans from voting. However, we won’t let them. I encourage Texans to urge their legislators to defend the voting rights of all eligible Texans, by making their voice heard by signing our petition.”