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Texas independents have little bandwidth for the partisan bloodbath

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The following letter was sent by the League of Independent Voters of Texas to members of the Texas House Elections and Senate State Affairs Committees in light of their deliberations on HB 6 and SB 7.

 

Dear Chairs, Vice-Chairs and Members of the House Elections and Senate State Affairs Committees:

The League of Independent Voters of Texas (LIV) is a 501c4 non-profit, non-partisan organization. Founded in 2013, we seek laws to secure electoral competition and the foundation of life and prosperity in our communities—water and land resources.

The January 2021 Gallup poll tells us that there are approximately 8 million independents in Texas—a plurality of approximately 50% of our state’s eligible voters. Dating back to the Perot movement, we also know that Texas independents lean toward either party in the Texas open primaries. 

On elections, we believe both parties agree on at least one important fact. Our 2020 election was, with a few exceptions, secure and fair. Therefore, LIV respectfully requests a candid discussion by our legislative leaders of the following stark facts of life for Texans as you deliberate on making significant changes to our election system: Texans are reeling from two disasters—the pandemic and damn near freezing to death in our own homes. 

As the finger pointing goes back and forth between Republicans who have enjoyed one-party rule at the state level for decades, we must also remind you that both parties are guilty of ignoring the disaster unfolding on drinking water. Independents have warned you about this since 2013: The mining of aquifers (groundwater) driven by an unholy alliance between government and private profiteers is ignored by most in both parties. 

Those of us who live over the most targeted aquifer for depletion by marketers and nearby municipalities in the state must get organized now at the local level. That’s why we’re starting local chapters of LIV across the region and state, starting with Bastrop, Austin and San Antonio.

Given these facts, we Texas independents believe there is little bandwidth amongst a super-majority of Texans for the partisan bloodbath unfolding on the rules of political engagement—elections. 

House Bill 6 and Senate Bill 7 endanger the right to vote for all Texans. Ironically, the bills will do real harm to Republican leaning independents. The elderly, disabled, veterans and overseas military voters will resent undue hassles to vote by mail and to curbside voting.

We must add that the targeting of convicted of felons—who have served their time—is a cheap sale and exhibits for all to see the mean-spirited Texas GOP in our majority-minority state. 

Therefore, we implore members of both committees to apply these principles in your decisions on all election bills:

  • Was this legislation fairly vetted in the interim? (The pandemic made it difficult to impossible for legislators and citizens alike to participate.)
  • Does this legislation address unfairness or fraud that took place in the state of Texas? (If so, is there clear and undeniable evidence, and is there a wide-scale pattern or just a few bad actors?)
  • In light of question 2 above, does this legislation make it more difficult to vote by any person, and is it justified, in your non-partisan heart of hearts? (We ask you to remove your party hats when under the Capitol dome as you make laws that affect all Texans, regardless of party and ideology.)

Thank you for your consideration and service to the state of Texas.

 

With respect,

Linda Curtis, Board Member 

League of Independent Voters of Texas