ATLANTA — Today, after days of closed-door dealings, the Texas conference committee report on SB 7 was filed. SB 7 is an extreme bill that would make sweeping changes to the election system in Texas, restricting voting access for Texas voters and undermining democracy.
SB 7 attacks the freedom to vote from almost every angle imaginable. The bill would abolish drive-through voting for eligible Texans, significantly cut hours for early voting, impose new burdens on requesting and returning a mail ballot, create criminal penalties for simple administrative mistakes, and empower partisan poll watchers. The bill also furthers Republicans’ efforts to subvert the will of the people by making it easier to overturn elections. These provisions would radically restrict access to the ballot box in Texas and disproportionately affect voters of color. The original version of the bill also used “purity of the ballot” language that was developed specifically to block Black voters from casting ballots after the Civil War.
Texas currently has more anti-voter bills moving in the legislature than almost every other state in the country. Republicans in the Texas state legislature kicked off the 2021 session by introducing at least 66 bills attacking the freedom to vote—all part of a coordinated, nationwide effort by the Republican Party to stifle the political power of voters of color who turned out in historic numbers in 2020. In 2021 alone, more than 400 anti-voter bills have been introduced in state legislatures across the country.
Fair Fight Action Voter Protection Director Liza Conrad issued the following statement:
“As millions of Texas families were left freezing and hungry when the power grid failed, Republicans in the legislature were busy attacking the freedom to vote and undermining our democracy—under the cover of darkness and with a complete lack of transparency. Their insistence on prioritizing attacking voting access and threatening elections officials over delivering Texans reliable power and much-needed economic relief amounts to a dereliction of duty, full stop. It’s clear there is no low the Republican Party won’t sink to in their efforts to thwart the political power of Black and brown voters, even if it means threatening our democracy.
We’re grateful to the Democratic lawmakers who have stood strong against this blatant attack on Texans’ most fundamental freedom, and we call on Republicans in the state Senate to stop capitulating to anti-democratic conspiracy theorists and do the right thing by voting No on SB 7.”