In a statement on Saturday, President Biden called the proposed bill, along with similar measures in Georgia and Florida, “an attack on democracy” that disproportionately targeted “black and brown Americans.” He urged lawmakers to address the problem by passing democratic voting laws pending in Congress.
“It’s wrong and un-American,” said Mr. Biden. “In the 21st century we should make it easier for everyone eligible to vote, not harder.”
Republican lawmakers have often cited voter concerns about electoral fraud – fears fueled by Mr Trump, other Republicans, and the conservative media – to justify new election restrictions, even though there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the recent American election.
And in their campaign, Republicans have overcome objections from Democrats, constituencies and big corporations. Companies such as American Airlines, Dell Technologies and Microsoft spoke out against the Texan legislation shortly after the bill was introduced, but the pressure has so far been largely ineffective.
The final 67-page invoice, known as S.B. 7, turned out to be an amalgamation of two bulk voting laws that had worked their way through the state legislature. It contained many of the provisions originally put in place by the Republicans, but lawmakers dropped some of the strictest, such as an ordinance on the allocation of voting machines that would have closed polling stations in colored communities, and a measure that allowed election observers to control the voting process record on video.
Nonetheless, the draft law contains a provision that could facilitate the repeal of an election. Texas electoral law had stipulated that reversing the results of an election based on fraud allegations required evidence that illegal votes had indeed resulted in an illegitimate victory. If the bill is passed, the number of fraudulent votes required to achieve it should simply be equal to the difference in the winning votes; it would not matter who the fraudulent votes were cast for.
Democrats and constituencies were quick to condemn the law.
“S.B. 7 is an unscrupulous law, ”said Sarah Labowitz, director of politics and advocacy for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. “It is aimed at voters of color and voters with disabilities in a state that is already the hardest place in the country to vote.”