Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia Issues Statement on The Passage of the Texas State Legislature's Bill to Restrict Voting Rights

August 31, 2021
Press Release
Media contact: Daniela Campos Lopez | daniela.campos@mail.house.gov | 202-227-0330

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29) issued the following statement on the passage of Senate Bill 1 by the Texas State Legislature seeking to restrict voting rights for Texans:

“I am disappointed to see the passage of the Texas GOP’s suppression session bill SB1 that will restrict our communities’ right to vote,” said Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29). “To make our democracy stronger, we should be making it easier to vote, not harder. Unfortunately, the Texas GOP only seeks to make it more difficult by disenfranchising people of color, Latinos, seniors, and people with disabilities.”

“In the last year, the Texas GOP has continued to spread the ‘Big Lie’ that the 2020 election was somehow tainted and threaten Texans’ civil rights and public health in the middle of a global pandemic. This bill is about suppression. I will continue fighting to protect voting rights, and I call on my Senate colleagues to act swiftly by passing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act,” said Congresswoman Garcia.

BACKGROUND

The bill passed by the Texas Legislature on August 31st comes after a six-week walk-out by Texas House Democrats in protest over the bill’s voter restriction provisions. In particular, SB1 would make illegal the various strategies local governments like Harris County employed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during the 2020 election — including drive-through voting, temporary voting locations, and 24-hour polling places.

The bill also restricts the distribution of mail-in ballots, erects new barriers for volunteers assisting voters with tasks like translation, increases civil and criminal penalties for poll workers, and requires larger, Democratic-leaning counties to provide live streams of their ballot-counting facilities. This legislation piles onto pre-existing barriers in Texas, including the already limited mail-in ballot system and the closure of hundreds of voting locations in the wake of the landmark Shelby Co. v. Holder Supreme Court decision in 2013 and Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee Supreme Court decision this year, which gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
 

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Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2018, becoming the first Latina ever to represent the Texas 29th Congressional District. She serves on the House Judiciary and Financial Services Committees.