Texas Republicans On Record: No Intention Of Expanding Voter Access

Texas Republicans On Record: No Intention Of Expanding Voter Access

Texas Republicans are determined to take away the rights of Texans to vote; not only is this clear by their terrible voter suppression bill, but also by the amendments they refused to accept for it.

Last week SB1 passed in the Texas House. During the debate, Democrats attempted to introduce dozens of amendments to lessen the harm the bill would cause. Unfortunately, every single amendment that Democrats introduced, Republicans voted down, proving they have no interest in working in a bipartisan manner or doing what’s best for all Texans.

One of the most shocking amendments they voted against was one offered by Representative Harold Dutton.

Dutton’s amendment didn’t change the bill. It simply added three words to the legislative intent. Those words were, “increase voter turnout.”

Legislative intent is a practice used by judges, lawyers, and other court officials to determine the goals of legislators at the time of a bill’s passage. 

What have Republicans said the legislative intent was in SB1?

The legislature intends that the application of this code and the conduct of elections be uniform and consistent throughout this state to reduce the likelihood of fraud in the conduct of elections, protect the secrecy of the ballot, promote voter access, and ensure that all legally cast ballots are counted.

Representative Dutton’s amendment would have included “increase voter turnout” in the wording of the bill’s purpose. Why wouldn’t Republicans want to increase voter turnout as part of their “election integrity” efforts?

In 2020, only 60% of registered voters showed up at the polls. Texas is nearly at the bottom when it comes to voter turnout. Texas’ voter turnout is less than the national average and less than over 40 other states. There are millions of Texans who don’t vote. Access to the ballot box is a big problem in Texas.

Why did Representative Andrew Murr urge his colleagues to vote against the amendment?

He said that “placing the concept of increasing voter turnout in the bill wasn’t appropriate.”

All year Republicans have repeated, again and again, their “election integrity bill” was supposed to make it “easier to vote and harder to cheat.”

Increasing voter turnout falls under “easier to vote.” But Representative Murr didn’t think that was appropriate.

Republicans lied about the purpose of their bill.

Murr didn’t stop there. He added that every person’s right to vote was personal, and it wasn’t up to the state to get people to vote. It’s ironic because Texas Republicans have taken it upon themselves to stop people from voting.

Murr said Texas has a passive system of voting. That was another lie.

Texas has an aggressive system of voting, as proof by the Republicans aggressively trying to strip voting rights away from us. They’ve limited hours of polling locations, closed polling locations, and passed legislation to implement intentional voter intimidation.

Dutton closed on his amendment by saying, “If we can’t come together on increasing voter turnout, God help us, and God help Texas.”

Then, 80 Republicans voted against it.

80 Texas House Republicans voted against increasing voter turnout.

This should be all the proof needed by nay-sayers who think this has something to do with “election integrity.”

There is a mass-conspiracy by Texas Republicans to stop people from voting. They prove it with their words and their actions. It’s time to vote them all out.

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