On Monday, more than two dozen nonprofits, watchdog groups, and progressive organizations announced they would be uniting to create “Texas for All,” a coalition to fight voter suppression legislation.
The coalition is being joined by the Texas Civil Rights Project, Texas Freedom Network, Workers Defense Fund, Texas Organizing Project, Progress Texas, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, and others.
Their efforts come a week before state lawmakers meet in a special session to settle unfinished legislation from the past session, namely Senate Bill 7, high priority Republican legislation for “election security.”
In a letter signed by the uniting organizations, leaders warned that Senate Bill 7 would create new barriers to voting and entrench the current political leadership in Texas.
“It is an act of desperation led by Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Patrick, Speaker Phelan, and Attorney General Paxton whose greatest fear is that voters will end their political dynasty,” they wrote.
During the regular session last month, Democrats walked out of the chamber and broke quorum, killing Senate Bill 7 as well as a Republican bail reform bill supported by Abbott. The final draft of the bill prohibited 24-hour voting, drive-thru voting and included a provision to overturn elections.
Last week, Abbott announced the July special session and said that the agenda items would be revealed prior to lawmakers convening. Abbott previously indicated Senate Bill 7 and the GOP’s bail reform bill would make a reappearance; the same day as Democrats walked out, the governor issued a statement calling those two items “must-pass” legislation for any future special session.
Texas Democrats have been expecting their return too, and the minority party has spent the last few weeks sounding the alarm and urging Washington to pass voting rights legislation that would strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and overhaul campaign finance laws.
The new coalition, which includes Texas Democrats, has vowed to fight Senate Bill 7 and continue to work to elect new state leaders. The groups also announced a fund to aid Texans that were impacted by the February snowstorm. According to a news release, that fund has already raised $2.5 million.
Texas Freedom Network Executive Director Val Benavidez said the 35 organizations banding together to fight voter suppression represented a historic partnership. “With a massive investment and momentum on our side, the Texas for All coalition will hold state leadership accountable and ensure that we’re organizing and combining tactics to have our voices heard at the legislature and all the way to the ballot box,” Benavidez said.
The complete list of groups joined to Texas for All is as followed:
Texas Organizing Project (TOP)
Jane’s Due Process
Texas Freedom Network (TFN)
Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV)
Workers Defense Action Fund (WDAF)
ACLU of TX
Indivisible TX Lege
Common Cause Texas
Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP)
Deeds Not Words
Texas Democratic Party
Border Network for Human Rights
Children’s Defense Fund Texas (CDF-Texas)
REV UP Texas
Reform Immigration Texas Alliance (RITA)
ADAPT of Texas
Mi Familia Vota
Whole Woman’s Health
Whole Woman’s Health Alliance
La Union Del Pueblo Entero (LUPE)
Texas Campaign for the Environment
Black Voters Matter Fund
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org