This post appears here courtesy of the John Locke Foundation
. The author of this post is Mitch Kokai
of National Review Online corrects errors
in the record surrounding Texas' latest election reform.
- The Democratic opposition to legislative minorities using whatever leverage they have to block legislation is highly situational.
- In Washington, D.C., where Democrats control the White House and both chambers of Congress, the Senate filibuster is portrayed as a Jim Crow relic that is profoundly undemocratic.
- In Austin, Texas, where Republicans control the governor's mansion and both chambers of the legislature, House Democrats' walking out to prevent the passage of a bill with majority support is portrayed as a heroic act preserving our democracy.
- The bill in question is an election-reform measure that Democrats allege is the latest instance of state-level GOP voter suppression.
- The only recourse, they say, is at the federal level. The Senate filibuster should be eliminated - so much for the rights of legislative minorities - and then the narrowest-possible Democratic Senate majority should pass H.R.1, overriding long-standing, duly-passed election laws all around the country and essentially federalizing our elections.
- Democracy, they tell us, demands nothing less.
- To the contrary, this would be a power grab carried out under blatantly false pretenses.
- The Texas bill is no more a voter-suppression measure than the Georgia election law that passed a few months ago, which occasioned outraged accusations of the arrival of Jim Crow 2.0 that ultimately fell flat.
- The least defensible part of the Texas law is its provision saying that early voting on the Sunday before the election can't begin until 1 p.m., which could crimp the traditional "souls to the polls" turnout efforts of black churches. A Republican legislator says this was a drafting error. Regardless, the provision should - and almost certainly will be - changed.
- The rest of the legislation is unobjectionable. It pushes back against what were supposed to be temporary expedients during the pandemic, such as drive-through voting and 24-hour early-voting marathons. Texas democracy was healthy and robust prior to these emergency innovations, and it will be when they are gone.