Ahead of 2020, Texas Democrats go all-in on voter protection

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With the Texas primaries now less than a month away, Texas Democrats have launched what they call the biggest voter protection program in Texas history.

Joined by Fair Fight, the nonprofit headed by former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams, Texas Democrats said they will staff up to fight back against recent voter suppression measures passed by the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature.

“Our voter protection team’s goal is to clear the runaway so that voters can all have their voices heard,” said Democratic Party Voter Protection Director Rose Clouston in a conference call. “We’re confident that when all Texans vote, Democrats will win up and down the ballot.”

The voter protection program includes a year-round, multilingual voter assistance hotline that helps callers with any voting-relating questions, as well as a voter protection counsel that will work with elected county officials to identify problems on the ground before they happen on election day. 

The program will also recruit and train election clerks and judges, also known as poll workers, and will train and dispatch poll watchers on election day. 

“We have unprecedented voter registration effort that we’re conducting in the state,” Clouston said. “And we know that there are going to be millions of Texans voting for the first time in 2020 and they need the information and the support to do that, and that’s what our team is here to do.”

The voter protection program comes after years of voter suppression measures passed by Republican lawmakers since 2013, the year Texas escaped federal election oversight, known as preclearance, which reviewed election-related changes in states with a history of voter discrimination. 

In recent years, those attempts to hurt Democratic voter turnout include curbing voter registration drives, the governor’s office attempt to purge 95,000 votes, and most recently this past Texas Legislative session, cutting back on mobile early voting. 

Texas has not been alone in passing voter suppression measures. Twenty-four other states have also put in place new voting restrictions, according to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice. The justification for them, most recently championed by President Trump, are false claims of fraudulent votes by undocumented immigrants. 

Photo: Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images

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