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Black man arrested on $100K bond for voting, and Texas GOP advances bill making it harder to vote

“The arrest and prosecution of Mr. Rogers should alarm all Texans,” said Andre Segura, legal director of the ACLU of Texas. “He waited in line for over six hours to vote to fulfill what he believed to be his civic duty, and is now locked up on a bail amount that most people could not afford.

“He faces potentially decades in jail. Our laws should not intimidate people from voting by increasing the risk of prosecution for, at worst, innocent mistakes. We will continue to fight for justice for Mr. Rogers and will push back against efforts to further restrict voting rights.”

The ACLU of Texas and attorney Nicole DeBorde Hochglaube are representing Rogers, who was released from jail after the nonprofit Bail Project posted his bail. “His story is infuriating — and reveals what’s at stake as Texas lawmakers work to suppress voting rights and enrich the cash bail industry,” the ACLU of Texas said in a tweet on Saturday announcing Rogers’ release.

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The organization has fiercely fought restrictive voting rights bills, including legislation proposed during a special legislative session on Thursday. Senate Bill 1, and the House’s version, Bill 3, would require photo IDs for casting absentee ballots, criminalize voting violations, ban drive-thru, and enable partisan poll watchers, and both bills were the subject of House and Senate committee hearings this weekend. Even though Republicans dropped provisions to make it less difficult for judges to overturn elections and cut morning voting hours on Sunday, many see the proposed laws as reincarnations of a disastrous voting rights bill Texas House Democrats staged a walkout to prevent Republicans from reaching the quorum needed to pass. 

Hundreds of people waited in line for hours to protest them, KXAN reported. “The House’s registration figures showed 484 members of the public had come to the Capitol to register a position on the chamber’s bill, with 407 marking themselves as opposed to the legislation, 65 in support and 12 as neutral,Texas Tribune writer Alexa Ura wrote. House proceedings on the proposed legislation, however, didn’t allow many Texans to voice their concerns with the bill. After Democrats questioned the bill’s author, Rep. Andrew Murr, for more than four hours, the proposed legislation passed out of committee on party lines, Rep. John Bucy III tweeted on Sunday. The House will reconvene at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Texas.

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In the Senate committee considering the legislation, the hearing on the bill moved at a quicker pace, but scores of Texans were still waiting well past midnight to make their case to the committee,” Ura wrote.

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Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who has been urging Democrats to “hold the line” to oppose restrictive voting rights legislation, spoke out against Senate Bill 1 at the Senate Committee on State Affairs on Saturday. “I mean some of you are akin to the arsonist who wants to light the fire and then get credit for trying to put it out because you say ‘look there may not be a statistically meaningful level of voter fraud, but my constituents are worried about it,’” O’Rourke said. “Well why are they worried about it? It’s cuz you keep talking about a problem that doesn’t exist and trying to apply a solution that is in search of a real problem.

”I mean if you’re looking for something, more than 700 of our fellow Texans died because we couldn’t keep the power on in February. Let’s fix the electricity grid.”

During testimony protesting Senate Bill 1, Kyle Huang, a 17-year-old San Antonio student, gave an example of a scenario that could lead to criminal charges under the proposed legislation. “I just graduated high school and I find myself here today, defending the right to vote, a right that I myself cannot yet exercise, but a right that is under attack,” Huang said. “When I phone-banked last year, I spoke with many senior citizens who relied on mail-in voting because of a lack of access to transportation and technology. I remember talking to an elderly man who did not have internet access, and he explained that he got a mail-in ballot application because the county sent him one.” The county official who sent the application could be prosecuted under Senate Bill 1, and that bill was just one of the items Gov. Greg Abbott forced legislators to consider in the special section. 

View social media posts on other items on the governor’s agenda below:

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RELATED: GOP fascism reigns supreme in Texas governor’s plans for special legislative session

RELATED: Texas GOP’s response to COVID-19 pandemic is bill making it more difficult to vote

RELATED: ‘We need Congress,’ Texas Democrats say after staging walkout to block voter suppression bill

RELATED: Texas Republicans invite showdown with major corporations over GOP clampdown on access to voting



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