VOTING RIGHTS SESSION– Yesterday in Brownsville, Texas the US Congressional Committee on House Administration held a listening session on Texas voting rights and elections. It featured multiple U.S. representatives from across the state and country, and members of advocacy organizations. Matthew McCarthy is with the ACLU of Texas. He told Texas Public Media–citizens are enduring more difficulty navigating the Texas voter ID laws, especially when poorly-trained elections officials provide misinformation.
“Not only does this place a real burden on voters, particularly minority voters, but we fear that in many cases voters will simply accept what they’re being told and will turn away and won’t cast their ballot,” McCarthy explained.
The session comes more than a week after the office of Texas Secretary of State David Whitley compiled a list of almost 100 thousand people on the voter rolls who, the office says, may not be U.S. citizens. Since then, multiple lawsuits have sprung up criticizing the list saying its misleading and further suppresses people of color and their right to vote by facilitating the potential for voter intimidation. A member of the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus–Texas House member, Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, of Travis County, says he believes the voters on the list are residents who recently became citizens.
“This is morally wrong. We see this as a direct attack on the Latino community,” said Rodriguez.”We see this as direct and intentional voter suppression.”
Some Voters Registrars have discovered many names on the lists they received were either American-born or naturalized citizens. The Texas Secretary of State has been criticized for not verifying the names prior to releasing the list and have since been walking back the allegations.