By Jason Snead
Election reform was at the one-yard line in Texas, until House Democrats staged a walkout. Denied a quorum, the legislature was forced to adjourn and leave the important work of election reform undone.
Progressive activists and much of the national media hailed the Democrats’ disappearing act and cheered the downfall of S.B 7, the reform package negotiated by House and Senate lawmakers. They claim it’s hard to vote in Texas, and that lawmakers are trying to make it even harder.
President Biden went so far as to call the bill “un-American” and an “assault on democracy.”
To borrow one of his signature phrases, attacks like these are malarkey. Texas already has roughly two weeks of early voting, while President Biden’s home state of Delaware offers none.
Even when Delaware begins allowing early voting next year, Texas voters will still have more days to cast a ballot. Will the president lob incendiary attacks at his home state? Doubtful.
The reason for that double standard is entirely political. Democrats in Congress are pushing hard to pass H.R. 1, an unprecedented federal takeover of elections.
The 800-page bill includes provisions to nullify voter ID laws, comprehensively weaken safeguards proven to stop fraud, and force partisan vote trafficking into every community. Its authors are trying to justify this unparalleled power grab by demonizing their opponents, who they claim are actively working to deny the right to vote to minorities.
Trouble is, the election reforms passing in places like Florida, Arizona, Georgia, and elsewhere are overwhelmingly popular, common-sense measures that keep voting easy, and make cheating harder. Rather than debate these policies honestly, politicians and activists are distracting the public with fiery rhetoric and baseless accusations of discrimination.
Georgia, for instance, expanded early voting, yet President Biden repeatedly leveled false claims that the state was restricting voting hours to target working-class Americans. Washington Post fact-checkers gave him “four Pinocchios” for that.
Now, the left has brought these same tactics to Texas. Special interests have branded S.B. 7 a discriminatory and “restrictive” voting bill. The truth is far different.
S.B. 7 beefs up safeguards for absentee voting. Mail-in ballots are inherently more vulnerable to fraud and error, so lawmakers proposed stronger protections against ballot trafficking by paid operatives.
Only 11% of voters think it should be legal for unsupervised partisans to collect ballots, according to recent polling. It is not difficult to see why: Vote trafficking has been used to disenfranchise voters and swing elections, most notably in a 2018 North Carolina congressional race. Vote trafficking is so obviously risky that a bipartisan election commission co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter advised states to abolish it.