Op-Ed: Call Them Out: Demand TX Corporations Support Voting Rights

by | Apr 1, 2021 | Opinion, Voting

Nothing good happens after 2 AM. 

That was on full display in the wee hours of Thursday morning as the Texas State Senate passed Senate Bill 7. Just a few hours later, the Texas House began consideration of House Bill 6.

These bills would harken Texas back to the racist Jim Crow era. If passed, they will shutter dozens of polling locations in minority neighborhoods, make voting by mail harder, ban drive-thru voting, cut short the hours that polling locations are open, impose restrictions on people with disabilities to vote, allow poll watchers to record videos of voters inside the polling location – and cost Texas taxpayers nearly $35 million dollars.

This is not how democracy works. Lawmakers are elected to represent us, yet they are doing everything they can to take away our votes without our consent. 

Sadly, as Texans, we know that our legislators don’t listen to ordinary people. Instead, the only folks they really care about are their biggest donors – corporations.

Texas companies have donated over $1 million to the sponsors of SB7 and HB6 since 2019. Some of the biggest donors include AT&T, Centerpoint Energy, and USAA.  

We saw the voter suppression playbook employed in Georgia last month. There, the CEOs of top corporations such as Delta, Coca-Cola, and Home Depot spoke out too late – after the bill had already became law.

We cannot afford to allow Texas corporations to sit on the sidelines while our legislators ram SB7 and HB6 through. Now is the time to demand Texas corporations pick a side: with those seeking to suppress voters or those fighting to protect democracy. 

VoteSimple, a voting rights nonprofit has launched a campaign starting with a people’s petition doing just that. If our legislators won’t listen to us, they better start listening to their biggest donors. 

We’re ready to take on SB7 and HB6 – but we need every Texan to come together and make our voices heard so that corporations know they have no choice but to take a stand for voting rights.

Our state’s future is at stake, and we won’t allow these voter suppression bills to pass in the dark of night.

Delilah Agho-Otoghile is the Executive Director of the Harris County Democratic Party and Co-Founder of VoteSimple, a nonprofit organization dedicated to registering Black, Indigenous, People of Color and LGBTQ Texans to vote. 

Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

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