In a statement on Saturday, President Biden called the bill, along with similar measures in Georgia and Florida, an “assault on democracy” that disproportionately targeted “black and brown Americans.” He called on lawmakers to address the issue by passing Democratic vote bills that are pending in Congress.
“It’s bogus and anti-American,” Biden said. “In the 21st century, we should make it easier, not more difficult, for every eligible voter to vote.”
Republican state lawmakers have often cited voter concerns about voter fraud – fears entertained by Mr. Trump, other Republicans and the conservative media – as justifying further voting restrictions, despite the fact that there are no had no evidence of widespread fraud in the recent US election.
And in their electoral push, Republicans have overtaken objections from Democrats, voting groups and big business. Companies like American Airlines, Dell Technologies and Microsoft spoke out against Texas legislation shortly after the bill was tabled, but the pressure has so far been largely ineffective.
The final 67-page bill, known as SB 7, turned out to be an amalgamation of two omnibus vote bills that had made their way through the state legislature. It included many provisions originally introduced by Republicans, but lawmakers dropped some of the more stringent ones, such as a regulation on the allocation of voting machines that would have led to the closure of polling stations in communities of color. and a measure that would have allowed partisan observers to videotape the voting process.
Yet the bill includes a provision that could make it easier to overturn an election. Texas Election Law had said that quashing an election results over fraud charges required proof that the illegal votes had in fact resulted in an unjustified victory. If the bill passes, the number of fraudulent votes required to do so should simply be equal to the differential of winning votes; it does not matter for whom the fraudulent votes were cast.
Democrats and voting rights groups were quick to condemn the bill.
“SB 7 is ruthless law,” said Sarah Labowitz, director of policy and advocacy at the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. “It targets voters of color and voters with disabilities, in a state that is already the toughest polling place in the country.”