Update: May 15, 2019 at 8:48am
This morning, the Texas House Committee on Elections convened to begin hearings on Senate Bill 9, an anti-voter bill that threatens a state jail felony for common mistakes on voter registration forms. Texas residents, voting rights activists, and Democratic members of the committee were shocked to learn that Elections Committee Chair Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth) made the unilateral decision to cut off registration on SB 9 at 8:30 AM, just 30 minutes after the hearing began at 8:00 AM.
“Hundreds of people made their way from across Texas to protect their right to vote, only to find out Republican Chair Stephanie Klick and the Republican members of the elections committee are refusing to hear their voices,” said Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Manny Garcia.
“It is clear Republicans intend to silence the voices of Texans at the Senate Bill 9 hearing today and the rights of citizens to participate in their government. It’s wrong for politicians, like Chair Klick, to try to influence our elections by discouraging Texans who don’t agree with them. Texas Democrats demand Chair Klick reopen registration to testify so that every voice has a chance to be heard. We will never stop fighting for every Texan’s right to vote.”
Take action right now by tweeting, calling, and emailing your representatives to stop this attack on our right to vote:
Update: May 13, 2019 at 1:01pm
The Texas House of Representatives Committee on Elections is expected to hear Senate Bill 9 on Wednesday. Senate Bill 9 will make voting more difficult, confusing, and scary for voters because the legislation threatens voters with jail time over simple mistakes.
Example: Turn errors or mistakes on voter registration into a state jail felony (Simple errors like the County Voter Registrar — not the voter — recording the wrong address number, like typing a 6 instead of a 9, would punish Texans with felony charges and long prison sentences.)
Senate Bill 9 is the worst affront to voting rights since Voter ID and Jim Crow laws. The Texas Democratic Party stands firmly opposed to Senate Bill 9 and will fight to protect the right to vote for all Texans.
“The right to vote is fundamental and sacred in our democracy. Yet, Texas Republicans are pushing one of the worst affronts to voting rights since Voter ID and Jim Crow laws. Senate Bill 9 will make voting more difficult, confusing, and scary for all voters. Voting should be free, fair, and accessible. We should be working together to expand voting rights, not threatening voters with jail time,” said Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Manny Garcia.
“Republicans know that the only way they win elections is to rig elections by gerrymandering maps and making voting harder for certain people. Senate Bill 9 is another Republican attempt to scare everyday Texans into not exercising their right to vote. Texas Democrats will continue to oppose Senate Bill 9 and all attacks on our right to vote.”
Senate Bill 9 Does the Following:
- Turn errors or mistakes on voter registration into a state jail felony (Simple errors like the County Voter Registrar — not the voter — recording the wrong address number, like typing a 6 instead of a 9, would punish Texans with felony charges and long prison sentences.)
- Makes it a criminal offense to “impede a walkway” when talking to voters outside a polling place. (Restricting critical information for those who have questions).
- Removes the opportunity for a voter to choose their own assistant unless that person is a family member (Some voters have disabilities and cannot physically vote themselves).
- Removes immunity for law enforcement to set up fraud stings (Violates Civil Rights, every voter is going to have to know the Election Code or they might be pulled into a “sting” operation tricking a voter to violate the law).
- Expands the ability of election workers and poll watchers to see marked ballots (Straight out of the Jim Crow playbook, voter intimidation at its finest).
- Expands election contest grounds (If a candidate loses, are they going to charge in their suits that voters who made mistakes were committing fraud? Making it possible for candidates to steal an election through courts).
- Expands access to voter rolls to law enforcement and other groups (Allows the possibility for unlawful and discriminatory voter purges).