The Texas Senate gave initial approval Wednesday to legislation that would eliminate straight-ticket voting in all elections. By a vote of 20-10, senators passed House Bill 25 over objections from Democrats who warned of unintended consequences — including a disproportionate impact on minority voters. “Frankly, I don’t see any purpose for this legislation other than trying to dilute the vote of Democrats and, more specifically, minorities,” said state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas.
… The vote also followed a nearly hourlong debate between Hancock and Democrats who sought to show he had not done due diligence in assessing whether the bill would disproportionately affect minority voters. A federal judge found as much when it blocked a similar law last year in Michigan.
Hancock repeatedly downplayed the implication of that ruling for House Bill 25, saying it would travel a different route through the courts if it becomes law and faces a legal challenge. He also dodged questions about whether he had especially taken into account perspectives on the proposal from groups concerned with minority voting rights, repeatedly emphasizing there was a committee hearing where they could have testified.