July 28, 2021

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Texas Republicans Reveal Bills of Far-Reaching Voting Restrictions – The New York Times

4 min read

“There’s no doubt this is going to be a voter suppression session,” said Sarah Labowitz, the policy and advocacy director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.

The defiant tone continued on the sun-baked steps of the Capitol, where roughly 20 of the 67 Democrats in the Texas House joined voting rights advocates at a rally organized by Black Voters Matter, the Texas Right to Vote Coalition, the Texas for All Coalition and allied groups.

LaTosha Brown, a co-founder of Black Voters Matter co-founder kicked off the rally by describing the state as a central battlefield in the national struggle for voting rights. “Texas, we’re coming y’all,” she declared.

Republicans and their allies defended the bills, known as S.B. 1 in the State Senate and H.B. 3 in the State House, saying that they were necessary to shore up election security and falsely arguing that they did not include any new restrictions.

“In Texas elections, we want to make sure it is easy to vote and hard to cheat,” State Senator Bryan Hughes, a Republican from East Texas who wrote the Senate version, said in a statement on Thursday. “Senate Bill 1 does just that by making sure Texans can cast their votes with confidence that they’ll be counted and the results will be reported accurately.”

Mr. Hughes added that “Texans do not back down from a fight or flee from responsibility.”

Other Republican-aligned groups attacked the Democratic criticisms.

“There is going to be a lot of hyperbole, a lot of rhetoric, the same type of stuff that we heard before, that the provisions of this piece of legislation are restrictive, are trying to make it harder to vote in Texas,” said Jason Snead, the director of the Honest Elections Project, a conservative voting group. “If you look at the actual bill text, you get a very different picture of what you’re seeing, and that the policies are far more mundane and mainstream.”

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