Texas corporations rally against proposed election bills

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 6:44 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - In recent days, a handful of large Texas-based corporations have come out against a pair of so-called election integrity bills in Austin, saying the bills disenfranchise voters of color.

American Airlines and Dell Technologies have been the most vocal and specific in their criticisms of the bills, Senate Bill 7 and House Bill 6.

Senate Bill 7, which cleared the Senate last week, would ban extended early voting hours in some cases, prohibit drive-thru voting, block officials from sending early voting ballots to those who did not ask for one, prohibit voting in temporary structures and allow poll watchers more freedom to video record in polling places, among other provisions.

House Bill 6 remains in a House committee and contains many of the same proposals.

Southwest Airlines and AT&T have also chimed in about increasing access to voting in Texas.

“Corporations have come to find that these kinds of issues in many cases affect their standing almost as importantly in terms of their own employees and with recruiting,” James Henson, the director of the Texas Politics Project, told KWTX.

He said that he expects state lawmakers and corporations to “split the difference.”

“It’s a matter of whether and how much the business pressure can blunt the edges of some of the more sharp measures that are in the legislation,” Henson said.

“But I think it’s unlikely that ... we somehow see Republican leaders say, ‘We’re calling the whole thing off,’” he said.

University of Houston Political Science Professor Brandon Rottinghaus drew parallels to the 2017 legislative session when lawmakers were debating the so-called bathroom bill.

“2017 was the last time that you saw business interests standing up significantly to what lawmakers wanted to do,” Rottinghaus told KWTX.

“The business interests won; the lawmakers flinched,” Rottinghaus said.

“They decided not to test the resolve of these industries that have really been the lifeblood of Texas,” he said.

He said that pressure from these corporations and from Democrats will likely cause some House Republicans to “give it a second thought.”

Speaking to KBTX Monday Morning, state Rep. Kyle Kacal, R-College Station, indicated that he plans to do just that.

“I don’t know if the measures are necessary; you know, I don’t know how much fraud there really is,” Kacal said.

Meanwhile, Gov. Greg Abbott appears to be doubling down on his position as he said Monday he would not throw out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers Home opener.

This comes as Major League Baseball said it would not hold its All-Star Game in Atlanta following Georgia’s passage of new election legislation that critics say is aimed at suppressing certain voters.

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