FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/11/2013
REPRESENTATIVE ERIC JOHNSON FILES BILLS SEEKING TO PROTECT VOTING RIGHTS
REPRESENTATIVE ERIC JOHNSON FILES BILLS SEEKING TO PROTECT VOTING RIGHTS AND EXPAND VOTER PARTICIPATION IN TEXAS
AUSTIN, TX – In an effort to protect and expand the franchise, Representative Eric Johnson (Dallas) has filed legislation to increase access to the ballot box and facilitate greater voter participation.
"The ability to cast a ballot is a fundamental right that has come under attack in the last few years,” said Representative Johnson. "I have filed legislation that seeks to reverse this trend in order to protect the rights of all voters, while at the same time making the process more welcoming in hopes of increasing participation,” he continued.
These voting rights measures are the first five bills filed by Representative Johnson in the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature. Three of the bills are meant to improve voter participation by means of creating uniform election hours at early vote locations, allowing for same day voter registration, and making Election Day an official state holiday.
The other two bills filed by Representative Johnson seek to protect voting rights. One does so by repealing Senate Bill 14 from last session, the so-called “Voter ID” law, which has not yet taken effect because a federal court has blocked its implementation. The other aims to protect the voting rights of former felons, as the successful re-integration of ex-offenders into society is best served by encouraging their participation in the political process.
House Bill 463
Would make Election Day a state holiday in order to encourage employers to allow their employees to take the time required to cast a ballot without having to worry about missing work.
House Bill 464
Would allow for same day voter registration at polling locations, making it easier for all citizens to vote.
House Bill 465
Would repeal Senate Bill 14, the Voter ID law passed during the last legislative session that is currently blocked in federal court.
House Bill 466
Would require that voter registration forms be provided to ex-offenders who qualify for having their voting rights restored.
House Bill 467
Would require that all Early Vote polling locations in the same county maintain the same hours of operation.
Additionally, in an effort to further increase voter participation on a national scale, Representative Johnson intends to file a House Concurrent Resolution calling upon Congress to designate Election Day as a national holiday.
Together, these measures will dramatically improve the ability of all Texans to participate in our democratic system and ensure that their voices are heard.
Eric Johnson represents District 100, which includes parts of Dallas and Mesquite, in the Texas House of Representatives. During the 82nd Texas Legislature, he served on the House Committee on Higher Education and the House Committee on Appropriations as well as the interim House Committee on Manufacturing. He also served on the Joint House and Senate Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence, and Transparency.
Contact: Richard Griffin