Creating more paperwork
I was recently elected to a community board to promote voter engagement in Cooke County, and I'm here to tell you how the Texas Legislature is effectively trying to make it harder for elderly veterans to vote.
I vote like it's my job. And I live near a couple of our local nursing homes. So on occasion, I've been at my polling place when one of the nursing home buses stopped by to bring residents to vote.
I recall seeing residents going in to vote wearing a military hat - a symbol of the sacrifice they've made to ensure we remain a country in which voters have the final say. Some of them fought in Korea or Vietnam, and I think I even saw a man wearing a hat with a WWII patch once.
These residents rely on nursing home staff to take them to exercise their right to vote. But under Senate Bill 1 filed during the legislature's special session this month, whoever's driving the bus would have to fill out paperwork providing their name, address and why they're helping voters to get to the polls.
Don't believe me? Read the text for yourself. It's in article 5, section 5.01, subsection f of the proposed text of Senate Bill 1. It would require anyone to fill out a special form if they're driving more than two people to the polls that they're not related to.
Effectively, the government is creating more paperwork for essential care workers, in an industry where they're already overworked, after a freaking pandemic that took the very lives of folks in their care.
Why is the government adding unnecessary red tape to something as courteous as giving a few elderly voters a ride to their polling place?
Elderly veterans didn't fight for the last few decades just to have a stupid form interfere with their right to vote.
You want your paperwork, Texas Legislature? Come and take it.
Voter services and advocacy officer, League of Women Voters of Cooke County, Gainesville