The first Voting Rights and Elections listening session of the U.S. Committee on House Administration took place Monday in Brownsville at the invitation of U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela as part of a day of events he hosted in recognition of Black History Month. Several members of the Congressional Black and Hispanic caucuses took part in the session, which was led by U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, CHA Elections Subcommittee chair-designee, and which and took place at the Cameron County Courthouse Oscar C. Dancy Building. … The members of Congress heard testimony from a panel made up of veteran voting and civil rights attorneys Chad Dunn, George Korbel and Rolando Rios; Mimi Marziani, attorney and president of the Texas Civil Rights Project, and Matthew McCarthy, representing the American Civil Liberties Union.
Each of the panelists painted a picture of voter discrimination against African Americans and Latinos as alive and well in Texas, aided and abetted by state government.
Each cited specific incidences of voter suppression and election changes they said are intentionally designed to make it harder for certain segments of the population to vote, including voter ID requirements and reduced access to polling places.
The panelists pointed to a recent action by Texas election officials flagging 95,000 registered voters for citizenship reviews, based on what has turned out to be a deeply flawed list compiled by the Department of Public Safety. Rios characterized it as “clearly an attempt to intimidate and harass Latino voters.”