Austin, TX — Just a few months ago, “Texas lawmakers approved legislation that might make it easier for thousands of people to vote. And they didn’t let politics get in the way.” [Texas Tribune, June 2, 2017]
During the legislative session, a process for collecting absentee ballots at nursing homes and similar facilities passed with bipartisan support. “It would essentially turn them [nursing homes] into temporary polling places during early voting to discouragefacility staffers, political operatives or others from trying to manipulate residents’ votes, awell-documented threat surrounding such vulnerable voters.” [Texas Tribune,June 2, 2017]
Now, Republicans have adopted an amendment to Senate Bill 5 that repeals the bipartisan voter protections for mail-in ballots at nursing homes. (SB5 Amendment #5 by Goldman, RV#99, Texas House Journal)
Texas Democratic Party Legislative Director Glen Maxey issued the following statement:
“Texas Republicans have ripped out the only real voter fraud protection that has passed the legislative gauntlet in recent history. The bipartisan nursing home legislation would have actually done something to stop voter fraud and simultaneously expand access to the ballot for seniors.
“Texas shamefully ranks at the bottom of the barrel in voter turnout, this isn’t by happenstance. Texas Republicans have infamously enacted obstacles to voter participation and targeted communities of color, the poor, the elderly and the disabled with state-sponsored voter suppression.
“The question now becomes, will Governor Abbott repeal a real voter protection law that he signed less than two months ago?”
Nursing Home Voter Protection Background:
“With some 3,000 assisted living facilities affected statewide, Maxey sees the legislation as a mammoth expansion of ballot access to voters who might otherwise struggle to complete all the paperwork…”
“Glen Maxey, legislative director for the Texas Democratic Party, called the proposal the state’s largest expansion of voting rights since it moved to early voting.”
“Texas has ranked near last nationally in voter turnout, and attempts to reverse that trend have been shredded in a political buzz saw.”