Debate Intensifying Over Proposed Texas Election Law Bills

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said SB 7 is about "voter security, not about suppression," while former El Paso congressman and Democrat Beto O'Rourke called it "the single greatest attack on democracy."

Video Transcript

- The battle over a proposed election bills in Texas keeps heating up. On one side, Democrats, who say the legislation is a form of voter suppression. But Republicans say they want to boost security and confidence in the system. Here's political reporter Jack Fink.

DAN PATRICK: Senate Bill Seven is about voter security, not about voter suppression. And I'm tired of the lies.

BETO O'ROURKE: This is the single greatest attack on democracy and the ability to vote in Texas in more than a decade.

JACK FINK: Former El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, and civil rights groups, and Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick held competing news conferences today over Senate Bill Seven. The Lieutenant governor said under the bill, voting hours would be expanded until 9:00 PM. Early voting would remain 12 days, which is more than some majority Democratic states.

And votes would have a paper backup. The bill won't allow 24 hour and drive-through voting, which Harris County operated last year, but no other county did. Government agencies won't be allowed to send mail in ballot applications to everyone, even those who don't request them. And the legislation would also expand the rights of poll watchers.

And opponents say they worry that could intimidate voters. Patrick also fired back at American Airlines again today after the Fort Worth based carrier announced last week it opposes SB7.

DAN PATRICK: Well, let me tell you what, Mr American Airlines, I take it personally. You're questioning my integrity and the integrity of the governor and the integrity of the 18 Republicans who voted for this. When you suggest that we were trying to suppress the vote, you are, in essence, between the lines calling us racist. And that will not stand.

JULIAN CASTRO: Companies in the state of Texas and outside of it who do business here can choose to either stand on the side of making sure people have the right to vote and are able to exercise that right. Or they can stand on the side of a party that is only concerned with maintaining its power.

JACK FINK: O'Rourke urged people to contact other Texas companies and tell them to take a stand on this issue. While Patrick warned businesses, doing so could alienate half of their customers. Jack Fink, CBS 11 News.