April 01, 2021
Texas Retirees Stand Against Voter Suppression Legislation
Seniors Demand that state legislators vote against the bills
AUSTIN – The Texas Alliance for Retired Americans, with 146,000 members statewide, is demanding that state legislators oppose bills such as SB 7 and HB 6, which will make it more difficult for older Texans, Texans with disabilities and communities of color to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
SB 7 passed in the Texas Senate early this morning, April 1, in an overnight vote and is now headed for the State House. HB 6 is scheduled for a House committee hearing today.
“Texas already is known as one of the hardest places to vote in the United States, with no online voter registration, restrictions on access to mail ballots, and shrinking availability of in-person polling sites,” said Tony Padilla, president of the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans. “Older Americans take the right to vote seriously. We will not stand by and allow our vote and our voice to be taken away.”
Bills pending before the Texas legislature would:
- Eliminate extended hours for early voting;
- Ban drive-through voting;
- Require people with disabilities who need to vote absentee to provide a certificate from their doctor stating the disability, a burden and a violation of medical privacy;
- Prohibit election officials from encouraging mail balloting or providing vote-by-mail ballot applications unless specifically requested by individual voters;
- Empower partisan “poll watchers” to harass, intimidate, and videotape voters, volunteer election workers, and local election officials, even allowing these partisan watchers to videotape voters if the watcher believes the voter is receiving somehow unlawful help at the polls;
- Threaten local election officials and volunteers with civil and criminal penalties;
- Allocate voting sites and equipment to various parts of communities based on their voter turnout in past elections rather than by population;
- Require new purges of voting rolls, continuing the state’s dubious practice of purges relying on potentially outdated, unreliable data concerning residence or citizenship.
“These bills are an attack on our democracy and have no merit,” said Padilla. “This fight is far from over and the Texas Alliance will always fight to make sure every voter can cast a ballot.”