Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) urged Texas legislators to vote down the Conference Committee Report on Senate Bill 7 (S.B. 7) in its entirety. LDF previously sent testimony to the Senate State Affairs Committee and the House Elections Committee urging them to vote down S.B. 7 because it would further restrict access to voting. The proposed bill would eliminate straight-ticket voting, voting mega centers, roll back early voting, prohibit the distribution of early voting applications, and restrict curbside voting. Senate Bill 7 would also enable dangerous voter intimidation by allowing “watchers” to roam freely, check ballots, film voters, and surveil voters. The bill’s “standardization” proposals would severely limit the state’s 254 counties’ abilities to respond to their communities’ voting needs and interests. Senate Bill 7 would place a burden and barrier on Black and Latinx Texas voters’ abilities to exercise their right to vote and participate in the democratic process. The bill threatens to minimize and suppress the political power of millions of Texas, disproportionately people of color, students, those living in rural communities, and individuals with disabilities.
The Conference Committee Report of S.B.7 now includes out-of-bound amendments that target Black voters with surgical precision like eliminating voting on the Sunday morning before Election Day or “Souls to the Polls.” This procedurally irregular conduct, adding an out-of-bounds amendment, which would target voting by Black Texans specifically, may evince the Legislature’s intent to discriminate against Black voters, which would violate the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Read the full letter sent to the Texas Senate here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.