The League of Women Voters of Texas president, Grace Chimene, issued the following statement in response to the failed legislative process that drove some legislators to leave Texas today.
“As a non-partisan organization whose mission is empowering voters and defending democracy, the League is deeply disappointed that only extreme measures like the legislative exodus we saw today can prevent Texans from losing their voting rights.
“During the regular legislative session, the League of Women Voters of Texas (LWVTX) partnered with local, state, and national organizations to provide input to legislators who were considering various election bills. Yet, when SB 7 emerged as the final, comprehensive election bill, it was clear that voting rights were under attack. Under the guise of making elections more secure, SB 7 threatened the very core of our right to cast a ballot.
“When Governor Abbott called a special session to again consider elections, two comprehensive bills emerged: SB 1 in the Senate, and HB 3 in the House. Yet again, these bills are intended to make voting more complicated and create more potential pitfalls that would deny the freedom to vote.
“Many legislators are not listening. Although over 400 individuals registered to testify on each of these bills, most were not called to testify until after midnight! Where is the meaningful public input? How can constituents trust that their rights are being protected when they are being shut out of the legislative process? If our representatives are truly to represent our interests, they need to listen to us and provide meaningful opportunities to hear us.
“SB 1 and HB 3 would prevent many of us from making our voices heard. Given the challenges to voting in several states including Texas, the League of Women Voters of Texas believes that the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act are necessary to preserve an election system that is free, fair, and accessible to all.”