Houston senator ends historic 15-hour Voting Rights' filibuster
HOUSTON - It was a historic protest on the floor of the Texas Senate by Houston Democrat Carol Alvarado who waged a 15-hour one-woman filibuster in opposition to Republican election reform.
"Harris County proved to the rest of the country that you don't have to sacrifice election integrity in order to increase access to our electoral process," said Alvarado. "Let's make it clear instead of making it easier to vote this bill makes it easier to intimidate."
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The GOP measure would ban pandemic-driven accommodations like "drive-thru voting" and "24-hour polling places" while adding heavier scrutiny at polling places during elections.
After speaking non-stop from sundown past sun-up, Alvarado brought her battle to a close in the close company of fellow Senate Democrats.
"Voter suppression anywhere is a threat to Democracy everywhere," said Alvarado. "Thank you. I gratefully thank you, Mr. President and members."
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A matter of minutes later, majority Republicans slammed their election plan through.
Meantime, back on Harrisburg street in the heart of Alvarado's heavily Hispanic Houston District her high-profile delay tactic drew both praise and criticism.
"What she is doing is the right thing for many minorities and many of us that want to vote and want to find a better way to vote," said Joe Vasquez, a voter in Senate District 6.
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And yet some like Roger Garcia believe the Democratic demands for expanded access is a "Trojan horse" aimed at eliminating the requirement of voter ID.
"You got to show who you are," he said. "There are too many people crossing the border and we don't know who is who."
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And Eastside Republican Lawrence Tipton says Alvarado and eloping House Democrats aren't "shooting straight" with the people they represent.
"I think they are going to any lengths to avoid honesty in elections. That's all we are asking for honesty in elections.," said Tipton. "We haven't cut anybody out of voting. We have added some more time to voting and it's a shame that somebody would run off from their job instead of taking the call of duty."
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In the end, Alvarado's gesture did little to delay the inevitable although she did manage to make some history - setting a record for the longest filibuster by a female member of the Texas Senate.