“Opinion: Election integrity or suppression? Gov. Abbott is taking aim at voting rights.”

Stephanie Gomez oped in the Houston Chronicle:

Gov. Greg Abbott revealed his priorities for the 2021 Texas Legislative session, designating “election integrity” as an emergency item that lawmakers can vote on within the first 60 days of session, potentially bypassing the due deliberation and public input this issue deserves. House Speaker Dade Phelan named Rep. Briscoe Cain as the chair of the House Elections Committee, despite his notoriety for traveling to Pennsylvania to help overthrow the results of the 2020 election.

These actions signal an escalating attack on voting rights in a state that is infamous for being among the hardest in the nation to cast a ballot. It feeds and amplifies dangerously false rhetoric designed to undermine trust in our democratic system and prioritize partisan interests over the will of the people — exactly what fueled the failed white supremacist insurrection at the U.S. Capitol just weeks ago.

Opponents of democracy rely on unconscionable double-speak to assert there must be “trust and confidence in the outcome of our elections,” without ever acknowledging the complicity of the state’s leadership — Sen. Ted Cruz, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — in undermining the trust and confidence the people hold in our democratic processes.

Abbott, Cain and their co-conspirators are willfully perpetuating distrust in democracy to hold on to power in Texas. Partisan actors have been chasing the specter of voter fraud for years, scaring Texans and funneling misinformation about the integrity of our elections to sow seeds of doubt and mistrust. It’s not new or surprising — their true mission is to continue Texas’s 150-year-old pattern of voter suppression.

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