Despite COVID, Texas state and county election officials ran a smooth and secure 2020 election, yet Governor Abbott chose to act on false allegations to declare “election integrity” a priority during the regular legislative session. 

He chose to ignore the very real priorities of a worsening pandemic in Texas in favor of further complicating our election process and limiting the freedom to vote for all Texans, especially voters with disabilities, older voters, urban voters and voters of color.

Legislators filed bills to restrict voting by mail, voting times, voting places; to make it more difficult to assist voters; to make the polling places less safe; and to impose more criminal penalties, among other changes. Major anti-voter bills failed during the regular session and during the first special session. 

Meanwhile, Texans continued to suffer from COVID-19, were left without power and water through a historic freeze, and now are faced with choosing between their children’s welfare and their education. State leaders are ignoring the real priorities!

Undeterred, the Governor called a second special session with the same single-minded goal of limiting certain Texan’s freedom to vote and complicating the election process. The majority in the Texas House and Senate has now enacted SB1. The League will continue to fight for all Texas voters and by reviewing the changes to the election code and empowering voters with the information they need to cast a ballot and vote in every election. It’s going to take a while to unpack this piece of legislation to mitigate the complicated process of voting in Texas.

The League wants to take this opportunity to thank its members and supporters for staying engaged during these very challenging legislative sessions. The actions you took, emails and calls to legislators, letters to the editors, tweets, etc., helped lessen the impact of this bill on voters of Texas.

I realize that we might be exhausted, frustrated, and disappointed; yet, I assure you that the League is committed to continuing its work on behalf of every Texas voter. We are working with individuals and partner organizations to understand the best next steps to empower voters and defend democracy! We are stronger together!

Editor’s Note: The above commentary was penned by Grace Chimene, president of the The League of Women Voters of Texas. The commentary comes in response to the Texas Legislature enacting the comprehensive election bill SB1. Chimene can be reached by email via: [email protected].


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