Texas Rep Rafael Anchia questioned the use of “purity of the ballot box”, a phrase with origins in disenfranchising voters, during a May 6 legislative session on the topic of a proposed election bill.
The phrase was used across political conventions in former Confederate territory and written into some state constitutions, including that of Texas, local media reported.
Anchia, a Democrat, asked Republican Rep Briscoe Cain, author of the Senate Bill 7, to address the language during May 6’s legislative session.
“You chose a peculiar term in drafting this bill,” Anchia said. “You talked about preserving the purity of the ballot box,”
“Yeah, that’s a quotation from the Texas Constitution, Article 6, Section 4,” Cain said.
“Are you aware of the history behind that provision of the Constitution?” Anchia asked.
“I’m not,” Cain responded.
“Are you aware that references to ‘purity of the ballot box’ used throughout this country’s history has been a justification for states to disenfranchise groups they deem unfit to vote or somehow lacking?” Anchia asked, drawing reactions from gallery guests.
On May 7, the Texas House of Representatives passed the bill which will increase voting-by-mail regulations, add election-related crimes, and boost protection for partisan poll watchers, according to local news reports. Credit: Texas House of Representatives via Storyful