Texas legislators must finish the election integrity fight

June 24, 2021

Find this op-ed in the Houston Chronicle

Texas legislators must finish the election integrity fight

By Sen. Ted Cruz and Jessica Anderson

Vice President Harris met with Democratic Texas lawmakers last week in Washington, but did not discuss the ongoing humanitarian crisis at our border. Instead, the vice president gave lawmakers AOC-style talking points and free media attention to bolster their attacks on Texas Senate Bill 7, last session’s election reform and voting rights legislation. This meeting falls at the nexus of a months-long, two-pronged assault from the left: first, Democratic leaders falsely smeared state election integrity bills as “Jim Crow 2.0.” Second, they used the anger generated from their smear campaign to strengthen their push for a federal election takeover.

The attacks have dominated the corrupt corporate media, but that has not deterred freedom-loving Americans: they have demanded election integrity reforms in states across the nation to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.

That’s why Texas Gov. Greg Abbott rightly deemed election integrity an “emergency item” in February, and that’s why the Legislature developed SB7 in a joint conference between the House and Senate. While Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have fear-mongered about the bill, facts tell a different story.

First and most importantly, SB7 would add voter identification requirements for mail-in ballots, making the requirements consistent with in-person voting. According to University of Houston polling, 58 percent of likely Texas voters surveyed, including 59 percent of independents, are concerned that an increase in mail ballot use will increase election fraud. And the solution, voter ID, has strong support in Texas: An overwhelming 81 percent of Texans support requiring all voters to show government-issued photo identification to vote, according to a 2019 poll by the nonpartisan Texas Lyceum.

Additionally, the bill would prevent ballot harvesting by paid political operatives, the same practice that caused a 2018 North Carolina congressional election to be overturned. SB7 also helps individuals who require assistance when casting their vote, protecting elderly voters from intimidation from paid campaign operators.

Crucially, SB7 would protect the ability of poll watchers to observe the election process without obstruction. Poll watchers fill a vital role in our elections, keeping the process transparent and reporting any suspicious activity to proper authorities. This provision is vital in light of news reports of poll watchers being illegally obstructed during the 2020 election.

That’s the truth: SB7 protects voters while safeguarding against potential fraud. But despite the bill’s common-sense provisions, the left, aided by their woke corporate allies and willing media partners, pushed a conspiracy theory that Texas legislators were involved in a national “voter suppression” plot. The left told Texans that voter fraud is a myth (it’s not) and suggested that fraud doesn’t change election outcomes. It does.

Based on those false insinuations, the left took radical action. Hours before the Sine Die of the Texas legislative session last month, the “pro-democracy” left cheered as Texas House Democrats fled the state Capitol, breaking the needed quorum and blocking elected representatives from voting on the comprehensive election integrity legislation.

The partisan political theater didn’t kill SB7 for good, but it gave Texas Democrats breathing room to prepare for round two of the fight. They’re now taking marching orders from Democrats in Washington — just last week, they met with the vice president, House Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Schumer, and other leaders.

Despite Democrats’ best efforts, Texas lawmakers working to safeguard elections still have the most significant advantage of all: the people. Provisions in Senate Bill 7 are widely popular among Texans, according to a poll released in April: 60 percent of voters support additional requirements to increase election integrity, while only 18 percent thought the changes unnecessary. There is no reason to delay passing the strongest possible election integrity and voting rights legislation. Governor Abbott this week called a special session for July 8 so lawmakers can protect election integrity and ensure our right to vote.

The longer we wait, the more time the left has to prepare an all-out assault on a common-sense election integrity bill and the Texans who support it. Woke corporations, swampy D.C. politicians, and the vice president herself are joining the fight against secure elections and against the grassroots of Texas who know how vital this bill is.

Texan legislators should finish the work they began. Texas is counting on it.

Cruz, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Texas. Jessica Anderson is Executive Director of Heritage Action for America.