Texas — The following is a statement from Jolt Action’s Interim Executive Director Antonio Arellano, on Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to include “election integrity” as an emergency order during the 87th Texas Legislative Session. Abbott made the announcement during his State of the State address on Monday.
“During Monday’s State of the State address, Governor Greg Abbott listed ‘election integrity’ as an emergency item during this legislative session. But we see past his divisive rhetoric and recognize what he’s truly calling for — an attempt to legislate voter suppression.
Voter fraud is a myth. Extensive research has shown that by and large, our elections are secure. In fact, it is more likely that an American “will be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls,” according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Mail-in ballots have also been found to be secure; members of our Armed Services who vote from overseas have been casting ballots via the mail for decades.
What Governor Abbott is truly asking for is legislative permission to continue suppressing the vote of Texans, especially Black and Brown folks. Texas already leads the nation as one of the states with the most restrictive voter ID laws, and he plans to continue the state’s race to the bottom by encouraging even more restrictions that make it difficult for communities of color to assert their power at the ballot boxes.
As shameless as this is, it’s not surprising that Gov. Abbott is doubling down on voter suppression months after the 2020 election when communities of color made their voices heard at the ballot box in record-breaking numbers. It’s the same playbook used by the GOP in 2018: after increased voter turnout during that election, Republicans unsuccessfully attempted to purge more than 90,000 voters — most of whom had Latino surnames — from the voting rolls. We see this move for what it’s worth — another attempt to cling to power and dilute the strength of a growing constituency as demographics of the state continue to shift.
By 2030, Latinos will be the majority in Texas, and they represent the biggest threat to the political status quo. Republicans, including Gov. Abbott, understand that the only way for them to stay in power is by disenfranchising voters, which is why they’re doing everything they can to game the system in their favor. But we won’t stay quiet, and we are prepared to make our voices heard to ensure voting rights aren’t infringed upon. We’re committed to working through this legislative session and beyond to continue protecting the rights of our community, ensure that every eligible Texan is registered to vote, and that they exercise that right to vote at the ballot box.”
ABOUT JOLT ACTION
Founded in 2016, Jolt Action is a progressive civic engagement organization focused on building the political power and influence of young Latinos in Texas. Jolt Action’s initiatives are focused on community organizing, leadership development, voter engagement, and multi-issue advocacy. Through these efforts, Jolt Action serves to elevate the community’s collective voice to engage and transform our democracy. Jolt’s high school and university chapters across the state mobilize around issues such as student debt, racial and immigrant justice, healthcare reform, and climate change. To learn more, visit jolttx.org.