Listening Session on Voting Rights and Elections in Brownsville Texas
On Monday, February 4, the Committee on House Administration (CHA) will hold a listening session on Voting Rights and Elections in Brownsville, Texas, chaired by U.S. Representative Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio).
Since 1845, Texas has a history of voting discrimination, particularly against African American and Latino citizens and language-minority voters. The Texas Civil Rights Project estimates that the Texas electorate is missing 4.4 million voters due to systemic failures at state agencies, and state restrictions on third party registration, such as the Volunteer Deputy Registrar program, exacerbate the systemic disenfranchisement of communities of color.
The Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder invalidated key provisions of the Voting Rights Act while acknowledging the persistence of voter discrimination. Following the Court’s decision, which constructively eliminated preclearance requirements under the Voting Rights Act, hundreds of polling locations have been closed in Texas—significantly more in number and percentage than any other state. Additionally, the Texas Election Code only requires a 72-hour notice of polling location changes. These are just a few examples of the erosion of equal access to voting in Texas.
Congress has the power and responsibility to ensure that every American can exercise their franchise. Accordingly, the Committee on House Administration is hosting this session and subsequent hearings to further develop the contemporaneous record of ongoing voter discrimination, address the Supreme Court’s concerns about the data supporting Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, and work toward the full implementation of Section 5.
Mr. Rolando Rios, Esq.
Mr. George Korbel, Esq.
Mr. Matthew McCarthy, ACLU Foundation of Texas
Mr. Chad Dunn, Esq.
Ms. Mimi Marziani, Esq., President, Texas Civil Rights Project