House Bill 6 (HB 6) is no ordinary voter suppression bill. Not only would the proposed legislation make it much more difficult for Texans to vote, it would make voting potentially dangerous with a new series of extreme criminal penalties.
These penalties would be in addition to already existing penalties and would shockingly push election law violations into the same sentencing range as cases involving murder or theft of property valued between $150,000-$300,000. This scale of second-degree felony could land a person with a 20-year sentence, enough to scare anyone away from the polls.
Worse, any Texans sentenced under this proposed law would likely be sent into our largely failed and overcrowded state jails system. People in Texas prisons sentenced with the lowest level of felony are often placed in state jails, which were created to provide rehabilitative and life skills services. That plan was later abandoned, and state jails functionally became human warehouses. HB 6 proposes that we send even more people into these failed facilities.
The authors of the bill claim they want to enforce “purity” at the polls, but we know this legislation isn’t really about ensuring election integrity. Behind the smoke and mirrors routine, we see aggressive scare tactics to inhibit Texans from exercising their right to vote. Below we have compiled a list of the more egregious suggested penalties the authors of HB 6 hope become law.
We have seen statewide that policies promising to be “tough on crime” waste taxpayer dollars, break up families, and devastate communities. Lawmakers should be creating laws that expand voter access instead of using threats of incarceration to scare Texans away from voting.
We need your help to stop these egregious attempts to intimidate poll workers and to stymie the vote. HB 6 is set to be heard on Thursday, April 1 in the House Elections Committee. Contact the committee members or email the committee clerk with your opposition to this thinly veiled attempt at voter suppression.