Hundreds of Texans were at the State Capitol on Thursday to voice their concerns over proposed election reforms. House Bill 6 has attracted no shortage of opinions on both sides of the issue.
- Hundreds of Texans are at the state capitol today to voice their concerns about proposed election reforms. Our political reporter, Jack Fink with a closer look at House Bill number 6, which has attracted no shortage of opinions on both sides of this issue.
BRISCOE CAIN: Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Texas legislature this session to ensure that elections, the bedrock of our republic, are free, fair, and secure.
JACK FINK: The chair of the House Elections Committee, Republican Briscoe Cain, outlined his bill HB6, amid sharp criticism it would suppress votes, particularly of African-Americans and Latinos.
NICOLE COLLIER: Because Texas has a history of disenfranchising Black and Brown people when it comes down to voting. And I want to make sure that we have an opportunity to ask questions about the intent of this bill.
JACK FINK: Under HB6, pollwatchers would be guaranteed access to observe the elections. It would also require those who are assisting voters to fill out a ballot at a polling place, to give their name, and take an oath. The legislation would also increase penalties against vote trafficking and harvesting. A Democratic representative said those who are disabled and need help to vote are concerned about the proposed new requirements for those assisting them.
JOHN BUCY III: Individuals with disabilities have come to my office and said, we don't want these requirements. They-- they feel like it adds an undue burden to them having access to the ballot box.
BRISCOE CAIN: Why would we let someone assist somebody without an oath and knowing who they are?
JACK FINK: Early this morning, the state Senate approved its own controversial elections bill, SB7. It doesn't allow public employees to distribute unrequested mail ballot applications and calls for consistent voting hours and in-person voting rules statewide. Drive-through voting would not be allowed.
EDDIE RODRIGUEZ: --also believe that anything that would restrict people-- people's ability to vote or having their vote count is a stain on our democracy and is not worthy of the state of Texas.
JACK FINK: The proposals come at the same time as Republicans in other states passed similar bills. But the author of Texas House Bill 6 says his has nothing to do with the 2020 election. Jack Fink, CBS 11 News.