VIDEO: O’Rourke raises voting rights alarm

TEXARKANA, Texas – In an appearance Friday, prominent Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke argued that new electoral laws threaten democracy and encouraged his audience to take action as part of the political process to save it.

O’Rourke brought his Powered by People campaign to Texarkana, starting with going door-to-door to register voters and later in front of a crowd of about 50 at the Twin City Event and Conference Center on Texas Boulevard. The stop was part of a nationwide tour of Texas cities to promote increased voting rights activism.

For about an hour on Friday afternoon, O’Rourke knocked on the doors of West 13th and West 14th Streets and asked if he could help someone register to vote and invite them to the later event. Two men took the opportunity and another woman accepted a form for them to fill out later.

Former President Donald Trump’s repeated allegations of widespread fraud during and after the 2020 election, and subsequent actions by state legislatures to change the electoral law, pose unprecedented threats to the American democratic system, he said at the event that followed his introduction with a standing ovation.

It included the most recent electoral law, Senate Law 7, which was foiled by the Texas State House Democrats during the last legislature when they left the Senate to prevent a quorum from being held. Governor Greg Abbott is expected to convene a special term during which the measure can be re-examined.

“SB7 was launched in Texas, which is already the toughest state to vote or register. For example, over the past eight years, 750 polling stations have closed in this fast-growing state. That’s more than twice as many as the closest state behind us. And the 750 polling station closings, the vast majority of them in the fastest growing blacks and Latinos in the state, “said O’Rourke.

“We are 50 out of 50 states in terms of voting and voter registration. Additionally, SB7 would make it even more difficult this year. It would abolish the Sunday morning vote, ‘Souls to’ – polls are disproportionately used by black voters across the state of Texas.

Leonard Bolton fills out a form to vote in front of his home on 14th Street in Texarkana, Texas with Beto O’Rourke in front of O’Rourke City Hall at the Twin City Church of Christ Friday night.

Photo by Kelsi Brinkmeyer / Texarkana Gazette.

It would make it difficult for people with disabilities to cast their votes. It would be more difficult if someone drove you to the ballot box. You could do away with roadside voting. And if you have a disability and want to vote by post and are not 65 or older, you must disclose the nature of your disability, ”he said.

O’Rourke urged audiences to contact state lawmakers against the bill, pressuring elected federal officials to intervene through laws such as the For the People Electoral Reform Act currently before the Senate , and as “insurance policy”. Engage the 7 million eligible Texans who did not vote in the last election, including 2 million who were not registered.

O’Rourke did not rule out he will run for governor in 2022 to remove Abbott, who is expected to run for re-election for a third consecutive term.

“I want to finish this fight, this fight that I just described, for several reasons. First, it doesn’t matter who the candidate is if we don’t have free and fair elections. it’s not a person, a voice in Texas.

“But after that, I really want to think with you and others about what I can do to best serve this state. And that could be as a candidate. It could be to support candidates. I will keep my distance. And I’ll be with you, “said O’Rourke.

One man in attendance caused a brief disturbance with a confrontational question about O’Rourke’s gun control proposals, which include a ban on the sale and repurchase of semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15.

“I don’t think anyone should own an AR-15 or an AK-47. But I know very well that the vast majority of those who own them do not intend to use them against others, have not used them against anyone, if they are used against others in cinemas and supermarkets, in high schools or elementary schools, they kill with them a speed and effectiveness and efficiency unmatched by any other weapon. That’s why I feel that way.

“But I understand (and) also that I am willing to work with you, if you are willing to work with me, that we could probably do better, and you and I could probably agree on how to do better can as what we can do we have now, “said O’Rourke.

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