Adult Texans don’t have to vote, but we do have to elect a government.

Regrettably, our state’s low voter turnout is ranked 46th nationwide, a black eye for Texas exceptionalism. We can do better. Given society’s discord, we need to know our election administrators are right when they declare a winner, and as Americans, we should encourage everyone to be heard.

Illegal voting isn’t widespread: The Texas Attorney General’s Election Integrity Division’s website advertises that office has “successfully prosecuted” only 531 offenses since 2004. Meanwhile, in those 15 years, over 100 million votes were cast statewide.

I recently testified before the Texas House Elections Committee that the best way to guarantee election integrity is to increase the number of legal voters. The committee chair declared suppressive HB-6, with new harsh penalties for voting fraud, was designed to “protect the sanctity of the ballot box,” but you can’t achieve perfection by being punitive.

Nearly all Texas voters devotedly cast their ballots legally, and we who play by the rules should be rewarded with better voting options. Millions of law-abiding Texas voters each election vastly outnumber whatever few crooks seek to vote illegally. Jail them, and free us.

Same-day registration and voting, drive-through voting, accessible mail-in ballot drop box locations, late-night voting hours for shift workers, expanded weekend voting: These innovations are proven to increase legal voter turnout.

Texas businesses always adapt, broadening their availability to meet customers’ diverse needs. Why doesn’t government do the same? You can drive through to purchase a meal, but you can’t drive-through and vote. I scribble my signature on the electronic keypad to pay for groceries, but my son’s ballot was canceled because his mail-in signatures supposedly didn’t match. Texans buy guns in 30 minutes at Academy, but we have to register to vote 30 days before an election. Government needs to catch up.

Our history is one of forging a more perfect Union. The United States and Texas emerged from brutal repression. Following the American Civil War, the United States passed the 14th Amendment. Decades later, the states ratified the 19th Amendment, and women gained the right to vote. The civil rights movement produced the Voting Rights Act of 1965. High school students can vote at the age of 18. That’s continued progress and enlightenment in the American vote.

Texas HB-6 and its companion Texas SB-7 reverse that progress, seeking to suppress Texans’ right to vote, and doing that tragically disrespects our American experience.

It’s imperative that Texas voters call these bills out for what they are: HB-6 and SB-7 intend to make voting harder. That’s unconstitutional, anti-Texan and un-American.

The Texas Legislature should adopt innovations that election administrators developed for the 2020 cycle because voters liked them, turning out in historically high numbers to show our approval. Texas voters, where the real power of government dwells, deserve broadly empowering voting laws.

Joe Jaworski is a national mediator, former mayor of Galveston and a declared candidate for Texas Attorney General.

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(33) comments

Norman Pappous

" drive-through voting, accessible mail-in ballot drop box locations, late-night voting hours for shift workers, expanded weekend voting"

Already have every single one of those Joe.

Don Schlessinger

[thumbdown]

Don Schlessinger

[thumbup]

Jarvis Buckley

Norman , Joe is a good guy .

Norman Pappous

Yes he is but he is also, and he will admit it, very political. This is part of his state-wide AG campaign but as a candidate for Texas' highest law enforcement office, he should feel obligated to tell the whole truth. Fact is - Texas has weekend and evening voting hours, drive through voting, and every postal-box is a ballot box. The state of his own party's leader (Delaware) doesn't even have early voting. Ever hear that tidbit from voting activists?

Carlos Ponce

"HB-6 and SB-7 intend to make voting harder. That’s unconstitutional, anti-Texan and un-American." WRONG!

HR -6 "The purpose of this Act is to exercise the legislature’s constitutional authority under Section4, ArticleVI, Texas Constitution,to make alllaws necessary to detect and punish fraud and preserve the purity of the ballot box."

Here's the text of HR-6:

https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/87R/billtext/pdf/HB00006I.pdf#navpanes=0

Now tell us HOW in the world you think it is un-Constitutional.

SB - 7 "AN ACT relating to elections, including election integrity and security; creating criminal offenses; providing civil penalties. "

Here's the text:

https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/87R/billtext/pdf/SB00007E.pdf#navpanes=0

Now tell us HOW in the world you think it is un-Constitutional.

On the other hand HR 1 in the national House is in-Constitutional and un-American. It strips away the states' authority to conduct elections and encourages fraud.

Gary Miller

Georgia rewrote their election laws, making them more voter friendly and were punished for it. The media wanted changes that would make fraud easier and told MLB to pull the All Star Game out of Atlanta. Game was moved to Colorado where election laws are less voter friendly.

Carlos Ponce

And in the meantime, minority business owners in Georgia prepping for the All-Star Game are left high and dry by the "Woke Joke" mob.

Diane Turski

We must stop these voter suppression bills!!!

Carlos Ponce

The Texas Bills are not "Voter Suppression bills". However HR1 in Pelosi's House promotes voter FRAUD.

Ted Gillis

All of that is a lie Gary.

Don Schlessinger

[thumbdown]

Doug McLean

I have concerns regarding the power brokers in Austin's proposed law changes regarding voting. What are all the current GOP office holders in Texas afraid of ? Are they afraid the eligible voting population will grow, and that the numbers of enrollees in their party will be diminished ? Changing the laws now is unnecessary, the incidence of voter fraud was less than miniscule in most states in 2020 despite the former president's claims, and a good percentage of those fraudulent attempts were by Republican supporters in this past election cycle. This knee jerk reaction to losses suffered is pretty transparent. The GOP would be better served to address the needs and issues important to their constituents and bank on their solutions to get them re-elected.

Bailey Jones

[thumbup]

Carlos Ponce

"What are all the current GOP office holders in Texas afraid of ?" During the 2020 elections, Blue Counties like Harris and Travis went on their own with measures that encourage voter fraud. Luckily the Texas Supreme Court stopped them. But next time they will be more devious.

I spoke with some who did not vote in 2020. They chose not to because they did not like any candidate, even down ballot.

Don McLean, do you HONESTLY believe Biden garnered more votes than Obama?

Cary Semar

Not unlikely since there was a record turnout in 2020. Trump had a way of getting people to pay attention!

Carlos Ponce

Wait until you see the real numbers![beam]

Jim Forsythe

Just in Texas, Biden received more votes than Obama.

Texas votes for Obama, 2008----3,528,633

Texas votes for Biden, 2020---- 5,235,216

Carlos Ponce

"Just in Texas" JIM????

You claim 81 million for Biden in 2020.

Obama got under 70 million in 2008, under 66 million in 2012.

DOES ANY SANE PERSON REALLY BELIEVE THIS??????????

Jim Forsythe

With the highest percentage of eligible voters voting since 1900, the number of votes for Biden was going to be high.

239 million people were eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential election and roughly 66.1% of them submitted ballots, totaling about 158 million. Biden received about 81 million votes, Trump about 74 million votes, and other candidates (including Jo Jorgensen and Howie Hawkins) about 3 million votes.

Carlos Ponce

Jim, can you answer the question? If not, that speaks volumes.

Do you really believe Biden could possibly get more votes than Obama?

Remember, a non-answer says a lot!

Jim Forsythe

Biden received more votes than any person running for President.

Just in Texas, Biden received more votes than Obama.

Texas votes for Obama, 2008----3,528,633

Texas votes for Biden, 2020---- 5,235,216.

In the USA Biden received about 81 Million votes.

These votes have been certified, and Biden is now President.

A small group of people think that Biden is not President, but they do not have a path to prove that Biden did not received 81 Million votes.

Dan Freeman

If you have know idea how to govern, make it hard to be voted out of office. Alternatively storm the Capital.

Norman Pappous

Perfect explanation of HB1.

Don Schlessinger

Yes indeed, the disaster at the border is a great example of the Left's governance. The humane treatment of minor illegals is really something to be proud of.

Heidi Gordon

This bills are a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. There are more gun deaths in the US than instances voter fraud, yet Republicans refuse to regulate any aspect of gun sales. But they have no problem spending months of their time crafting legislation to restrict citizens’ access to the ballot box.

As far the comments above regarding Harris County’s ways to make voting more convenient for workers or people not wanting to catch a deadly virus, these bills are attempting to do away with all of those and in fact impose further restrictions on poll access.

Carlos Ponce

"This bills are a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist." Think of it as a vaccine against voter fraud which would have existed in greater quantity had the Texas Supreme Court not ruled correctly.

Mikal Williams

The new slew of elections laws introduced in Texas are the result of a lie perpetuated by the former president and the GQP national and state leadership. Does voter fraud exist, yes. Does it exist to the extent to effect election results, no. These same legislatures were voted in office in the same elections they are claiming are fraudulent, except for their particular races of course. HB6, SB7, and many of the other so called “election integrity” laws Texas republicans are trying to pass are just updated Jim Crow laws and efforts to make it as hard as possible for the poor and working classes, whom tend to vote more democratically, from exercising their right to vote at all.

Carlos Ponce

Unsubstantiated nonsense from Mikal Williams.

I suggest you go back to school to learn about "Jim Crow" laws. There were NO Jim Crow laws initiated nor voted for by Republicans. Democrats are the sole creators of Jim Crow laws.

Ted Gillis

Again Carlos you like to quote historical facts but not historical context. None of the Democrats back in the Jim Crow era who supported Jim Crow rules are Democrats today. These industries are either dead or are alive in the Republican Party.

Carlos Ponce

They're dead. However if you support a Party that supports the funding of Planned Parenthood, that's even WORSE than "Jim Crow" because they kill a disproportionate number of Black babies.

BBLM - Black Babies Lives Matter!

Note: John Roberts will step down and the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will be a Black man! And he will not be placed there by a Democrat.

Ted Gillis

I’m confident that I typed in the word “individuals” not industries. Spellcheck is stupid sometimes.

Carlos Ponce

User error.

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