Courtesy of Move Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project
What is SB 9?
SB 9 seeks to make voting much more difficult, confusing, and scary for voters, all while creating more red-tape and bureaucracy for county election administrators. In 2018, a record number of Texans showed up to the polls to participate in our midterm elections. Instead of encouraging more democratic participation, SB 9 seeks to keep more and more Texans from voting in the future.
What does SB 9 do?
- Threatens voters with jail time and enormous fines: Voters could be punished for innocent mistakes, such as filling out their voter registration form wrong.
- Scares voters by weakening their right to a provisional ballot: Voters have a right to a provisional ballot when they sincerely believe they are eligible to vote, but this bill exposes them to possible jail time for doing so.
- Creates new red tape for those who need assistance while voting, in particular elderly voters, voters with disabilities, and non-English speaking voters: Those who drive voters to the polls and assist them while voting will have to fill out burdensome new forms just to help people vote.
- Injects partisanship into our elections: It allows partisan poll watchers to follow voters who need assistance into the privacy of the voting booth and watch them have their ballots marked.
- Expands dangerous new powers to law enforcement: It gives law enforcement complete legal immunity from prosecution for committing election-related crimes, allowing law enforcement to conduct undercover sting operations against community-based organizations.
- Exposes innocent people to arrest for vaguely defined conduct: Individuals who are assisting voters or exercising their right to free speech face new, confusing penalties for “impeding a walkway, sidewalk, parking lot, or roadway” up to 500 feet from a polling place, an area larger than a football field.
- Gives state officials more access to voters’ private information: AttorneyGeneralKenPaxton would be given direct access to the electronic voter registration database, which includes Social Security Numbers, Driver License Numbers, and other personal information.
What can I do to stop SB 9?
SB 9 would make voting harder and scarier for thousands of our fellow Texans who just want to have a voice in their democracy. We must reject SB 9, and focus instead on holding our leaders accountable in making it easier for more communities to participate in our democracy.