Please help keep Living Blue in Texas running and pushing for a bluer, better Texas by becoming a monthly subscriber.
Today, Greg Abbott joined East Texas Republicans in Tyler, a city with deep roots in oppression, and signed the most restrictive voter restrictions since Jim Crow.
How do you know Greg Abbott is lying? His mouth is moving. At the press conference he held to sign of Texas’ new Jim Crow voter law, his mouth moved a lot. We’ve debunked every lie that he and his fellow Republicans told.
Lie #1 – The Jim Crow voter bill restores confidence in elections. While restricting voter access might give the right confidence that they can cheat to win, Democrats from El Paso to Brownsville have no faith in the Texas Government and the GOP’s ability to provide free and fair elections.
Lie #2 – It ensures every eligible voter will have the opportunity to vote. This bill targets the disabled and elderly to be disenfranchised.
Lie #3 – It provides more hours for people to go and cast their vote.
HERE is the bill; the section about voting hours starts on page 16. Before the 87th Legislature, Texas did not have a restriction on voting hours, which is why Harris County was previously able to offer 24-hour voting. Due to the unique positions, Harris County took towards voting during Covid, 54% of the people who used 24-hour voting were Black or brown.
In context, most of people who used 24-hour voting were people of color, which is why Texas Republicans sought to limit polling hours.
Abbott wanted to compare Texas voting laws, a state with almost 30 million people, to the voting laws of Delaware, a state with less than 1 million people. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Multiple cities in Texas that have a higher population than all of Delaware. Therefore our needs are much different.
Lie #4 – The law makes it harder for fraudulent ballots to be cast.
There isn’t one Republican in the State of Texas that can explain to you how cutting back polling hours prevents cheating. One thing has nothing to do with the other.
Lie #5 – The Jim Crow voter law fixes insecurity with mail-in ballots.
In 2020, Texans cast over a million absentee ballots, the majority of which were cast for Democrats.
This new bill prohibits election officials from sending mail-in ballot applications to anyone, including people who are automatically eligible (i.e. over the age of 65).
The GOP lie, which their voter base has fallen for, is that if they stop providing mail-in ballots to Granny the elections suddenly become more secure. When in fact, what this will do is disenfranchise elderly Texans, who up until this law, were automatically mailed a mail-in ballot application in many counties.
The new Jim Crow voter law makes so-called “ballot harvesting” a third-degree felony.
That wasn’t a lie. It does that. Most of us never even heard of “ballot harvesting” before this last year, when the GOP took up a crusade against it. However, there is no evidence of any “illegal ballot harvesting” ever taking place in Texas. It’s all some bullshit made up by some right-wing media or politician to ruffle feathers or sell advertisements.
Lie #6 – An Obama-era judge said that ballot harvesting happened in abundance in Texas.
Abbott just made that lie up today. I Googled, I asked Twitter, and there is no evidence that any Obama-era judge said such a thing.
Lie #7 – The Jim Crow voter bill makes it easier for anyone than ever before to go and cast a ballot.
Unless you work odd hours and want to vote after 9:00 pm. Or if you live in a huge urban area where only one drop-box per county is allowed. And it won’t be easier for you to vote if you are disabled or have a neurological disorder that prevents consistency in your signature.
How do you know Dan Patrick is lying? His mouth is moving.
After Abbott finished spewing fairytales of his dystopian white Texas, the man under his thumb, Dan Patrick, took to the mic and poured on his own lies.
Lie #8 – The Democrats are lying about it being tough to vote in Texas.
According to the Cost of Voting Index put out by the University of Northern Illinois, Texas is the hardest state in the Union to vote in.
An analysis by Mother Jones repeated the same sentiment.
Houston Public Media concluded the same.
Patrick said that the Texas Association of Businesses released a poll where 95% of their members said it was easiest to vote. While that isn’t a lie, it’s still dishonest; and here’s why:
HERE is the poll Dan Patrick was referring to. They polled their own members, CEOs and Business Owners, and they only polled 501 people. So, 95% of the rich white people they polled said voting was easy. Shocker, right?
I’d like to see them give the same poll to Oak Cliff, Stop Six, or the Fifth Ward residents. I would put $100 on it that the results they came up with were much different.
Lie #9 – Since Texas’s restrictive Voter ID laws passed, Texas increased voter turnout more than any other state in the country.
This is another disingenuous statement from Dan Patrick for two reasons.
- The voter ID bill in 2011 disenfranchised 600,000 voters. Ultimately, the courts ruled that the law intentionally disenfranchised minority voters and was overturned. The 2017 legislature revised the law, making it less restrictive.
- In 2012, our voter turnout was 43%, which put us at the bottom ten of all states. In 2020, our voter turnout was 60%, which still puts us in the bottom ten. So, while we increased our voter turnout from 7.9 million to 11.3 million in 2020, there were still over ten million eligible people that never went to the polls.
How do you know Senator Bryan Hughes is lying? His mouth is moving.
Hughes started his spiel by telling the audience about a Longview County Commissioner indicted for mail-ballot fraud. This was the first I heard of it, and there isn’t much information out there, but something with this story doesn’t seem to fit right. Allegedly, a group of Black people, including Gregg County Commissioner Shannon Brown, in Gregg County, a county that is 75% white, gave mail-in ballots to able-bodied people not qualified to vote by mail, and now are facing up to 99 years in prison.
If you know more about this story, email us the details. It seems all too convenient for the right’s white supremacist agenda.
Hughes also spoke about a 2016 case from Hidalgo County, where voter fraud happened. However, there is nothing in the new Jim Crow voter law that would have prevented that five-year-old case from occurring. And the people involved in that case were prosecuted under the previous election law, only demonstrating how the new law is irrelevant.
Lie #10 – The new Jim Crow voter law protects working people.
This was explained to Republicans again and again during the multiple hearings they held on voter suppression. Some people in Texas cannot afford to take 4 hours of a workday off to go vote, which is one reason why 24-hour voting was so popular. The new bill mandates employers must allow their employees to go vote during work hours. But it doesn’t solve the problem of the millions of Texans who live hand-to-mouth and cannot afford to take time off.
The GOP is tone-deaf.
In response to the the new Jim Crow voter law, the Texas Freedom Network, Move Texas, Texas Democrats, and Beto O’Rourke all issued statements.
Texas Freedom Network Executive Director Val Benavidez released the following statement:
“After months of Texas voting rights advocates successfully delaying Governor Abbott’s retrogressive voter suppression bill, we have been transported right back to the Jim Crow era. We didn’t expect better from Abbott, but we deserve better. It was clear from the beginning that the Governor wouldn’t ease up on his virulent attacks on democracy until he had accomplished his mission. With SB 1 signed into law just moments ago, today is a truly sad day in Texas.
“Unfortunately, SB 1 is a perfect example of how Texas’ elected leaders refuse to actually listen to their constituents. Despite statewide protests against this voter suppression bill, Gov. Abbott called not one, but two special legislative sessions to force it through our legislature—all while failing to address the issues actually facing Texans today, like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and our crumbling power grid.
“The fight for our democracy is far from over. In fact, groups like the Texas Freedom Network are just getting started. For Governor Abbott—and indeed all Texas lawmakers trying to strip Texans of our rights—your days in office are numbered.”
MOVE Texas Action Fund Executive Director Claudia Yoli Ferla issued the following statement:
“With the stroke of a pen, the governor has realized his long-standing goal of restricting the freedom to vote for Black, Brown and young Texans as well as Texans with disabilities across our state. History will remember this period as one of democracy in distress; as an era during which our sacred freedom to vote endured unrelenting assault. Ours is a struggle born generations before us, led by Black, Brown, and low-income voters – it is a struggle that our generation must continue. This democracy of ours has always been a work in progress, a dream not yet realized.
“But while history will disdain this measure as an indelible mark on our democracy, it will also remember the heroic and unyielding efforts of voters, advocates and organizers who brought an ocean of activism to the steps of our state Capitol. Our collective struggle ground these suppressive measures to a halt not once, not twice, but on three separate occasions—galvanizing a national movement against voter suppression in the process. Make no mistake, this is a victory in itself.
“MOVE Texas will engage, empower, activate and organize the next generation of Texans at a scale that not even these egregious voter suppression measures can quash. We will build out a broad base from the ground up that stretches across our sweeping state—bringing in new voters, empowering young voters and showing by example the power that each of us holds to create positive change in our communities and across our state.
“This has always been our mission at MOVE. Now, it is more important than ever.”
Texas Democrats’ Statement on Signing of Anti-Voter S.B. 1
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement on Gov. Abbott’s signing anti-voter S.B. 1 into law:
“With his signing today of anti-voter bill S.B. 1, failed Gov. Greg Abbott has once again shown his true colors. Texas’ disgraced governor is not a leader — he’s a would-be dictator who will do anything to cling to power, even at the expense of the voices of millions of Texans and the future of our democracy.
“S.B. 1 is a racist, anti-democracy bill that will cement Texas’s ranking as the hardest state in the country to vote in. Abbott has signed into law a bill that will make it harder to vote by mail, embolden partisan poll watchers and pave the way for voter intimidation, put up additional barriers to voting for Texans with disabilities, limit voting options by banning drive-thru voting — overwhelmingly used by working people and voters of color — and slashing the early voting window, and make election workers vulnerable to lawsuits.
“This law is a barefaced attack on Texas voters — one that should never have seen the light of day. Yet Texas Republicans will stop at nothing to keep Texans from the ballot box, and the reason is clear. As a party that has done nothing to address the issues facing Texans, and has instead contributed to untold suffering across the state, Texas Republicans know their days in power are numbered — and they’re trying to hold onto their jobs the only way they can: by stopping us from voting. However, with Greg Abbott’s approval ratings at an all-time low, he should see the writing on the wall — and understand that the signing of this harmful bill will only make us more determined.
“Texas Democrats fought this bill at every turn. Its signing today is another reminder of the dire outlook for voting rights in the United States in the 21st century. The only remedy is urgent federal action to protect voting rights across our country. I am grateful to the U.S. House for passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act earlier this summer, and to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for making voting rights a priority for the U.S. Senate this fall. I urge our federal lawmakers to meet the moment with the urgency it demands and send federal voting rights legislation to President Biden’s desk. Our democracy is on the line.”
Beto O’Rourke issued the following statement:
“Governor Abbott is restricting the freedom to vote for millions of Texans. Instead of working on issues that actually matter, like protecting school kids from Covid or fixing our failing electrical grid, Abbott is focused on rigging our elections and implementing extreme, right-wing policies.
“Abbott’s agenda of criminalizing abortion, permitless carry, anti-mask mandates and voter suppression is killing Texans and limiting their voting rights to elect more responsible leaders.
“But we will not let this happen without a fight. In just the last week, more than 2,600 people have signed up with Powered by People to help us register the voters who can take back our state in 2022.
“All Texans who want an ethical and effective government are welcomed to join our movement at poweredxpeople.org today.”
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: