Senate Bill 7 is causing controversy among supporters and opposers, after house democrats walked out of chambers Sunday night, to prevent a vote on what they say is one of the strictest voter suppression bills in the country.
Chris Rosenberg with Bell County Democratic Party said, “The very time, you know when they were trying to restrict us from voting, they were at in the chambers voting on this legislation.”
Senate Bill 7 striking a chord with Chris Rosenberg.
“It should be easier to vote in the state of Texas, not harder," said Rosenberg.
For years she has worked within Bell County, getting thousands registered to vote. Rosenberg said some of the key points of SB7 will directly impact her.
“I have a condition. It's a nonpartisan tremor, and my signature can look different according to the day, there's no I mean, that could disable my ballot," she said
New restrictions on mail-in voting, bans on drive-thru voting, more power granted to poll watchers, and limiting voting hours on Sunday are all ways Gilberto Hinojosa Chair for TX Democrats said is specifically targeting people of color.
“They saw this election cycle that African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, a big part of the base of the Democratic Party came out in unprecedented numbers," said Hinojosa. "I mean, what other excuse can you give for eliminating Sunday morning voting in the state of Texas, other than making it harder for African Americans to go out and vote?"
Hinojosa said the turnout of black and brown voters greatly impacted the election. He said this intimidates Republicans leading them to express claims of voting fraud.
Hinojosa said, “There was no evidence produced at any of the hearings that we had during the consideration of these two bills that showed in any way that there was any fraud, nothing, zero.”
“When you try to mail out 2.7 million unsolicited ballots into Harris County, that's an idea of fraud as well," said Lt. Col Allen West, Chairman Republican Party of TX.
West said drive-through voting in Harris County also violates Texas law and is a fraud too, but says SB7 is not meant to target any specific group.
West said, “This does not suppress anyone; it does not keep anyone from being able to go to vote. It actually makes voting easier, but it makes it hard to cheat.”
West believes there should be widespread support for a bill that he says is designed to rebuild trust.
“I would hope that people would stand up and make sure that we want to have integrity in our electoral systems," said West.
We did reach out to the local Bell County Republican Party who said they believe this will all be sorted out during a special session. Gov. Abbott has not announced when that session would take place.
Rosenberg said, "If it does pass, there will be a legal dispute because these things are not constitutional. And so we anticipate Texans spending millions of dollars defending the legislation, that is unconstitutional."