Fact-checking Dan Patrick’s hateful and twisted rhetoric regarding SB7.
If you haven’t already heard, Dan Patrick gave an angry press conference yesterday, where he shouted at the media and spat out one lie after another. The press conference was to address SB7, the Jim Crow-style voter suppression bill. Everyone hurt Dan Patrick’s feelings by calling Republicans racist. We broke down what he said, with fact-checks, to show you how Republicans have twisted the narrative.
He repeatedly called Democrats and the media liars during the press conference and said they had misrepresented SB7.
However, we haven’t. SB7 is, in fact, written to suppress the vote.
Lie #1 – Nothing in the election code has changed regarding early voting.
There are actually several ways in which SB7 changes early voting.
Solicitation of ballots by mail prohibited. This section specified the early voting clerk and an early voting ballot. If an early voting clerk or a third party even tells a person that early voting by mail is available, they will violate the law. This is suppressed because if elderly or disabled people are unaware that this option is available to them, they are more likely not to vote because of health risks they might face.
Prohibition on the distribution of application forms. This includes early voting ballot applications. Last year, because of the Covid pandemic, several counties mailed early mail-in ballots to all of their residents over 65 years of age. In turn, the voter turnout numbers were up. This section is specifically for making sure that fewer people vote.
Lie #2 – New York, New Jersey, and Deleware are more racist because they have fewer early voting days than Texas.
There are no states North of the Mason Dixon that is more racist than Texas. Democrats and the media are calling Republicans racist has nothing to do with how many states have more or less early voting days than Texas. Democrats and the media are calling Republicans racist because they are trying to suppress voting.
Patrick just added that part in to distract from the true intentions of this bill.
Lie #3 – Nothing has changed about election day voting in the election code.
Poll watchers may be near enough to see or hear. Imagine this, a Republican poll watcher, a Trumper, is in the polling place and cannot get into your personal space to see exactly how you voted. The vote is no longer private, and in rural counties, where everyone knows their neighbors, if a Trumper finds out you are voting Democrat, it could put your personal safety at risk.
Every polling place in a county must have the same number of voting machines. Since 2012, Texas has closed over 750 polling locations, most of which have been in Black and brown communities. The outcome of this, which we saw in 2020, is that white areas that had multiple polling locations were able to run in and out of the polling locations to vote, while polling locations in communities of color faced lines that were four and five hours long. This measure will increase the lines and waiting time even further in communities of color.
A polling place must be inside a building and cannot be a tent or a parking garage. The reason Republicans put in this measure because last year, Harris County allowed drive-through voting, which increased voter turnout. 76% of Houston’s population is non-white or Hispanic.
A poll watcher can use a recording device in a polling location.
This is a measure straight out of the Ku Klux Klan handbook. This will bring back voter intimidation and harassment. We all know what Trumpers did last year throughout Texas, harassing, intimidating, and assaulting both Democrats and people of color. This measure will allow a poll watcher to record who you vote for and post the recording online or pass it to their white militia friends, putting you in danger.
Voting may not be conducted earlier than 7:00 am or later than 7:00 pm. This one was also directed towards Harris County, which had 24-hour voting last year. Further, this will stop allowing people to vote after 7:00 pm, even if they are in line. If you get off work at 5:00 and head straight to the polling place and the line is longer than two hours, you may be forced to leave the line without casting a vote.
Lie #4 – Mail-in ballots for seniors and people with disabilities have actually loosened up.
Solicitation of a ballot by mail prohibited, which we already covered above. This bill also says that in order to get a mail-in ballot, the voter must “affirmatively indicate” that they are unable to enter a polling place. According to the bill, you will have to have written documentation and certification from a doctor which lists your medical disability or physical condition as the reason why you will need a mail-in ballot, violating your medical privacy.
Lie #5 – When Texas passed the Voter ID law in Texas, it didn’t result in voter suppression.
According to the ACLU, an estimated 11% of U.S. citizens over the age of 21 don’t have valid government identification. Some people in rural areas must travel approximately 170 miles to reach the nearest ID office in Texas. The combined cost of document fees, travel expenses, and waiting time ranges from $75 to $175. A 2014 GAO study found that strict photo ID laws reduce turnout by 2-3 percentage points.
Minority voters disproportionately lack ID. Nationally, up to 25% of African-American citizens of voting age lack government-issued photo ID, compared to only 8% of whites. In 2016, nearly 15 percent of the people who didn’t vote in Texas’s 23rd Congressional district that year told researchers at Rice University and the University of Houston that a major reason they didn’t cast a ballot was that they didn’t have an ID.
Lie #6 – People didn’t cry foul about elections in the past.
This is a complete load of horse shit. White people in Texas have been trying to stop Black and brown people from voting in Texas ever since emancipation.
To the left is a 1926 article that spoke about Black disenfranchisement in every state below the Mason-Dixon line.
Texas disenfranchised millions of people with poll taxes. Poll taxes in Texas lasted for 66 years, it’s only been 55 years since poll taxes were abolished.
And the extreme racial gerrymandering which has taken place in Texas has been something that Civil Rights leaders have called afoul over for decades.
Republicans in recent years have been intentionally disenfranchising Black voters. For proof, look no further than this 2013 lawsuit, Shannon Perez vs. the State of Texas, where Greg Abbot said, “A jurisdiction may engage in constitutional political gerrymandering, even if it so happens that the most loyal Democrats happen to be black Democrats and even if the State were conscious of that fact.”
Greg Abbott admitted that gerrymandering disenfranchised Black people and that Republicans were aware of it. However, they intended to disenfranchise Democrats, and it’s not their fault of most Black people happen to be Democrats.
Dan Patrick is a liar and Republicans are pushing voter suppression.
Their latest efforts to disenfranchise voters is just a continuance of the same disenfranchisement that racists have been pushing for the last 150 years.
We have to vote every single Republican in Texas out. Turning Texas blue is the only way we will be able to overturn all of these laws and make voting accessible for every American citizen over 18.
Vote in every single election and vote against the GOP every single time.
You can now read an ad-free version of Living Blue in Texas and help support our mission to turn Texas blue. Sign up now.
Sign up for our weekly blog roundup: