AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas State Senate yesterday passed Senate Bill 9, which would make voting more difficult, confusing, and punitive for vulnerable populations in Texas. The bill will now move to the Texas House of Representatives for consideration.
“SB 9 is a dangerous bill that will put innocent people in jail for trying to exercise their constitutional rights,” said Andre Segura, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas. “People who make innocent mistakes concerning their eligibility to vote will be sentenced to felony jail time, even if they only filled out a provisional ballot. The bill also imposes new restrictions and threatens new penalties on people who are trying to assist others in voting or exercising their right to free speech within 500 feet of a polling place.”
The bill also exposes people to potential arrest for their conduct while in or near a polling location. Individuals who are assisting voters or exercising their right to free speech will face new penalties if they are within 500 feet of a polling place.
“The 2018 midterm elections saw a huge increase in Texan voter turnout. Our legislators should applaud that, and focus on getting even more people out to vote,” said Matthew Simpson, deputy political director for the ACLU of Texas. “Instead, by passing SB 9, the Texas Senate is again trying to stifle the voice of the people by threatening individuals with criminal penalties for lawful election related activities. We call on the Texas House of Representatives to reject this anti-voter bill.”