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‘Assault on democracy’: Biden torches Texas voting bill

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The president said the legislation would disproportionately hurt minority voters.


President Joe Biden on Saturday laid into a Texas bill adding new voting restrictions, calling it “wrong and un-American.”

“It’s part of an assault on democracy that we’ve seen far too often this year—and often disproportionately targeting Black and Brown Americans,” Biden said in a statement. “It’s wrong and un-American. In the 21st century, we should be making it easier, not harder, for every eligible voter to vote.”

Texas is the latest in a flurry of states that have seen Republicans push for more restrictive voting laws, often labeled “election integrity” bills by supporters, in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s persistent and baseless claims that the November presidential election was stolen.

The proposed legislation — which passed Texas’ House earlier this month — would restrict Sunday voting, when many Black worshipers vote, bar drive-thru voting and 24-hour voting locations and give more access to partisan poll watchers, among other things. The Republican-controlled Senate is expected to pass the legislation, and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has said he will sign it.

The moves come after Harris County, home to Houston and a swath of Democratic voters, added drive-thru polls and 24-hour polling places in 2020 for an election with record turnout in a state that has trended more Democratic in recent years.

Biden has been sharply critical of Republicans’ “election integrity” legislation, particularly new Georgia voting legislation, which he called 21st-century “Jim Crow.” In his statement Saturday, Biden called for Congress to take action on the “For the People Act,” which has passed the House and would reform ballot access and campaign finance. It would also require states to have two weeks of early voting, among other things. The legislation faces long odds in the Senate amid staunch GOP opposition.

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Biden also called on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would reinstate Voting Rights Act protections that the Supreme Court took down.

“In the 21st century, we should be making it easier, not harder, for every eligible voter to vote,” Biden said in his statement Saturday. “I continue to call on all Americans, of every party and persuasion, to stand up for our democracy and protect the right to vote and the integrity of our elections.”

Abbott has touted the bill, saying it will make it "easier to vote and harder to cheat."

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) slammed Biden's statement Saturday.

“Like his ‘Neanderthal thinking’ comment on masking protocols, President Biden is wrong, overtly partisan, and increasingly out of touch with reality,” Cornyn tweeted.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has previously praised the legislation, saying it will make elections "more accessible and more secure."

Marc Elias, a prominent Democratic elections lawyer, said Saturday in a tweet that "Texas will be sued" if the bill becomes law.

Before the Texas legislation passed the House, it came under fire from a group of dozens of businesses and organizations, including Microsoft and Texas-based American Airlines.

“We stand together, as a nonpartisan coalition, calling on all elected leaders in Texas to support reforms that make democracy more accessible and oppose any changes that would restrict eligible voters’ access to the ballot,” the businesses wrote in an open letter.

Georgia also received intense blowback over its new law, with MLB pulling its All-Star Game out of Atlanta and major Atlanta-based companies, including Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola, criticizing the legislation.

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Source: Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories https://www.politico.com/news/2021/05/29/biden-texas-voting-restrictions-491415

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