HOUSTON — HB 6 and SB 7 continue to move through the Texas Legislature, and could soon be voted on by lawmakers. Plain and simple, these bills are designed to restrict voting opportunities for communities of color, disabled Texans and others, as well as criminalize simple voting errors, making it unlikely that many people will volunteer to do their civic duty, such as serve as a poll worker.
Even more egregious are the myths being pushed about these harmful bills by Texas lawmakers who just aren’t telling the truth. Below are three big lies that anti-voting rights lawmakers keep claiming about Texas elections and related election bills. ACLU of Texas experts are available to elaborate on the details in the bills.
MYTH: There is a proven trend of Texans committing voting-related crime.
TRUTH: Out of 94 million votes since 2005, only 174 people have been prosecuted for alleged voting offenses — or a fraction of a percentage of all votes cast (0.00000185 percent to be exact). The number of convictions following a trial is even lower. Voting bills like SB 7 and HB 6 are a “solution” in search of a problem that will harm Texans instead of fixing real issues in the state. As an ACLU of Texas analysis showed, when legislators try to make voting harder, the laws often appear to threaten voters of color.
MYTH: HB 6 and SB 7 are not voter suppression bills.
TRUTH: SB 7 limits and discourages voting early and vote-by-mail and targets voters with disabilities by making it harder for them to receive assistance to cast their ballot. HB 6 criminalizes many parts of the process of participating in and running elections, which could have a chilling effect on people attempting to do their civic duty, like serve as a poll worker. After Texas saw record-breaking voter turnout in 2020, the state plainly is trying to enact laws that intimidate voters from participating in elections despite no evidence of serious voter crimes occurring.
MYTH: Texans support new anti-voting bills like HB 6 and SB 7
TRUTH: Polling shows Texans do NOT support proposals to restrict voting, and in fact want measures that make access to vote easier. Major corporations in the state are speaking out against HB 6 and SB 7 because these laws could criminalize their employees when exercising their right to vote. Yet anti-voting lawmakers want to punish companies for speaking out. The most pressing concerns among Texans are those that help them with healthcare in a pandemic and recover from the fallout of the deadly winter storm.