Texas Senate Approves Voter Suppression Bill That was Negotiated Behind Closed Doors and Pushed 'Earlier Than Usual'

A sidewalk is shown with “Vote” written in tape outside a polling location on election day in Austin, Texas on November 3, 2020
A sidewalk is shown with “Vote” written in tape outside a polling location on election day in Austin, Texas on November 3, 2020
Photo: Sergio Flores (Getty Images)

Republicans really are the worst.

GOP lawmakers get to be delusional and proceed with legislation that assumes their delusions are real. For example, they propose and sign bills that ban Critical Race Theory from being taught in schools even though they don’t actually know what CRT is, nor do they ever seem to present much (or any) evidence that there’s even a real push to have it taught in K-12 schools. They push voter suppression laws that they claim are meant to combat widespread voter fraud that doesn’t exist. Conservatives purport themselves to be the party of “facts, not feelings,” but they keep proving themselves to be the exact opposite. (They would say the same about leftists who push what they say is propaganda regarding systemic racism, but we have data to back up those claims, they do not.)

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Over the weekend, Senate Republican in Texas—the same Texas that, in the same weekend, passed an anti-CRT white fragility bill—approved a sweeping voting bill that was negotiated behind closed doors, and one that, among other things, limits voting options and narrows the window for early voting.

From Texas Tribune:

Senate Bill 7, the GOP’s priority voting bill, emerged Saturday from a conference committee as an expansive bill that would touch nearly the entire voting process, including provisions to limit early voting hours, curtail local voting options and further tighten voting-by-mail, among several other provisions. It was negotiated behind closed doors over the last week after the House and Senate passed significantly different versions of the legislation and pulled from each chamber’s version of the bill. The bill also came back with a series of additional voting rule changes, including a new ID requirement for mail-in ballots, that weren’t part of previous debates on the bill.

But instead of giving senators the 24 hours required under the chamber’s rules to go over the committee’s report, including those new additions, state Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, moved to ignore that mandate so the Senate could debate and eventually vote on the final version of the bill just hours after it was filed.

Around 6 p.m. Saturday, Hughes acknowledged the Senate would consider the report “earlier than usual” but tried to argue he was giving senators “more time” by alerting them about his plan to debate the final version of SB 7 at 10 p.m.

Throughout the debate, Hughes argued SB 7 was striving for “common sense” solutions that secured elections from wrongdoing and fraud.

“We want elections to be secure and accessible,” he said.

Imagine working this hard and this deviously just to pass legislation that solves a nonexistent problem.

Obviously, Senate Democrats weren’t buying Hughes’ bullshit excuse for pushing the legislation early. They complained that they had not been given enough time to review the 180-page conference committee report, which includes the 67-page bill to keep pesky minorities from voting Democrat—because we’re going to be real about what this bill is really meant to do—and around 12 pages that contained additions to the bill that hadn’t previously been considered and were tacked on by the committee behind closed doors.

“I couldn’t in good faith vote to pass a bill the size of this one, that will affect the voting rights of every single Texan of voting age, when they’ve been deprived of the opportunity to voice their opinions on the final package of this bill,” state Sen. Beverly Powell (D-Burleson) said, the Tribune reports.

I guess I shouldn’t call this a “feelings over facts” thing because that implies Republicans don’t know exactly what they’re doing. They understand well that they lose when elections are fair and that their chances of victory increase when fewer people vote. That’s what bills like these are about—nothing more and nothing less.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

DISCUSSION

volante3192
Volante3192

HR1 could solve this...