Activists protest at state Capitol, opposing election reform bills

A coalition of civil rights activists and faith leaders are calling for the halt of House Bill 6 and Senate Bill 7, bills they say are the worst attack on voting rights since the Jim Crow era.

"I was born in 1958, my mother couldn't vote, not until I was seven years old," said Robert Williams with Alliance for a New Justice System.

Williams said this current legislation brings back memories of the Lyndon B. Johnson election. "I remember me and my friends, all we had to do was go up and down the street and yell at the top of our lungs, ‘Ladies and gentlemen vote for LBJ!’. Here we are again 56 years later fighting for the same right to vote," he said.


The bills are making their way through the legislative process. Activists say the proposed changes to the system, like the elimination of drive-through voting and outlawing unsolicited vote-by-mail applications, are examples of voter suppression.

"Don’t miss the connection between what they did Jan. 6 and their ideological sisters and brothers in state capitols across this nation who are doing everything they can to ensure only certain people vote, those who are whiter, older, and wealthier," said pastor and activist Dr. Frederick Douglass Haynes.


Last week Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick addressed these concerns, saying these bills are about election integrity.

"We must stop this race-baiting on every issue. Election security is what the public wants. Over 75% support voter ID which Congress wants to eliminate by the way. Voters want confidence in their election system, SB 7 is not voter suppression, it's voter security," said Patrick.

SB 7 still has to get a full house vote. HB 6 made it out of a House committee. Activists hope the bills stop there.

"We are raising up a generation of freedom fighters, liberators, who understand that the call must be clear and truth must be spoken to power," said Dr. James Nixon, president of Houston’s NAACP.