Today, the Texas Organizing Project (TOP) held a virtual press conference with Texas district attorneys Joe Gonzales of Bexar County, José Garza of Travis County, and Brian Middleton of Fort Bend County where they along with TOP’s Laquita Garcia blasted Republicans’ efforts this legislative session to not only make it harder for Black and Latino voters to cast their ballot but also in some cases criminalize it. Earlier today, State Representative Briscoe Cain, Chairman of the Texas House Elections Committee, attempted an underhanded legislative maneuver in hopes of ramming Senate Bill 7 through committee. The move highlights the brazenness of Texas Republicans in restricting voters’ access to casting their ballot.
The three progressive district attorneys, along with John Creuzot of Dallas County and Mark Gonzalez of Nueces County, signed a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott urging him not to sign into law numerous bills authored by Texas Republicans that seek to intimidate, discriminate against, and criminalize voters of color.
Joe Gonzales, Bexar County District Attorney said, “The moment to move is now. I gladly add my name to the list of progressive district attorneys [condemning these bills.] I’m proud to be among this group that fights for the rights of citizens not only in Bexar County, but across the state of Texas.”
José Garza, Travis County District Attorney said, “These tactics are not new. The State of Texas has a long and disturbing history of suppressing and diluting the voting strength of communities of color. Governor Abbott should abandon his efforts to criminalize people for exercising their right to vote.”
Brian Middleton, Fort Bend County District Attorney said, “We owe it to the people of Texas, and we owe it to the people of the United States to protect the Constitution, and protect people’s right to vote. This should be a non-starter for our legislators. They should kill this legislation, and move on to legislation that empowers Texans, not intimidates Texans.”
Laquita Garcia, TOP Statewide Policy Coordinator said, ““House Bill 6, Senate Bill 7, and a handful of other restrictive right-wing bills currently being considered in our state legislature are cut from the same, radical cloth as the massive voter suppression law passed in Georgia earlier this year. We have to call this what it is: a clear and direct retaliation against record voter turnout in the 2020 general election; a turnout largely driven by Black and Latino voters across the country.”
For decades, Texas has been ground zero in voter suppression efforts. TOP firmly believes state lawmakers should be doing everything in their power to expand the electorate, not shrink it. The community organizing group is part of a broader progressive coalition, committed to fighting back harder than ever at the ballot box to build a true #Texas4All, and in the process expand opportunities for Texans to vote and have their voices heard in our democracy.
Texas Organizing Project (TOP) organizes Black and Latino communities in Dallas, Harris and Bexar counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.
This press release was sent out April 29, 2021.