Is It Possible? HB 6 Even Worse on Voter Suppression Than SB 7

HB 6, a hearing on which was cut off in the House Elections Committee today, piles legal intimidation upon voter suppression and must be stopped, the Texas AFL-CIO said.

Statement by Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy and Secretary-Treasurer Leonard Aguilar:

“To us, ‘election integrity’ takes place when eligible voters turn out in large numbers and express their will. And ‘legislative integrity’ takes place when the people of Texas – all the people of Texas – have their voices heard in the halls of the Capitol.

“The Nov. 3, 2020 general election was an election of integrity. The 2021 legislative path of House Bill 6 is sorely lacking that same integrity. By refusing to allow the Chairwoman of the Legislative Black Caucus to participate in today’s House Elections Committee hearing, the author of House Bill 6 has shut out the voices of millions of Texans – especially Black Texans who have been historically disenfranchised in our state.”  

“We get the desperation: Republicans are operating from a national playbook explicitly aimed at slowing a rising vote by people of color that just flipped Georgia and the U.S. Senate and is on its way to doing the same in Texas.”

“HB 6 could turn the state labor federation into felons if we continue to send out vote by mail applications and take other concerted action to drive our own members to the polls. It would criminalize hard-working local election officials who expel a partisan ‘watcher’ who misbehaves in any way short of actual election fraud.”

“Bizarrely, the bill would even criminalize a future version of Gov. Greg Abbott’s well-justified decision to extend early voting during the pandemic disaster. A Governor’s emergency alteration of voting procedures would become a state jail felony under this bill if the Governor does not get approval from his appointee, an unelected Secretary of State.”

“HB 6 gives license to the Attorney General and other state leaders to criss-cross Texas warning potential voters (of the ‘wrong kind,’) that certain activities constitute felonies and will be prosecuted. Those activities may seem fuzzy to ordinary voters, who just might hear only the “you will be prosecuted” part. That’s an old Jim Crow intimidation formula, sent through a time travel machine to the 2020s.”

“If HB 6 becomes law, for many Texans it would turn the right to speak up at the polls into a threat. The Legislature must not tear down our state’s historic resumption of voter participation. Along with SB 7 (postponed for hearing until tomorrow), HB 6 deserves a quick death.”