Beto O’Rourke: Texas Voting Bill ‘Doing the Exact Same Thing’ as Poll Tax, Literacy Tests
Failed presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on Monday sounded off on the Texas Legislature’s election integrity bill, which Democrats were able to block by staging a walkout.
O’Rourke said the bill to ensure more security in the state’s elections is akin to the poll tax and literacy tests that were used to stop black Americans from voting.
“[I]t’s worth remembering that our democracy is the exception and not the rule in world history, and the exception on the planet today, and as hard-fought as this democracy was won, we can so easily lose it with provisions like this one,” O’Rourke told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe. “But I also want to call attention to some of these seemingly innocuous provisions like closing polling places in Texas or quote/unquote ‘standardizing elections.’”
He continued, “You know, the poll tax 100 years ago was somewhat innocuous-sounding. The literacy test, the counting the number of jelly beans in a jar, but in every instance, they were used to try to stop black Texans and African-Americans throughout the former Confederacy from being able to use their rights to vote. And in that same way, ending souls to the polls and closing polling places in predominately African-American neighborhoods is doing the exact same thing in 2021. And I do think if you connect it to all of these other provisions in other states, you see the greatest attack on multiracial democracy since Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the voting rights act into law in 1965.”
O’Rourke then emphasized the necessity of the For the People Act to combat voting restrictions across the country.