tv Washington Journal Shawn Thierry CSPAN July 21, 2021 6:22pm-6:55pm EDT
[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] >> watch c-span's "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern thursday morning and be sure to join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, texts and tweets. washington jo. host: shawn thierry represents house district 146 in texas. representative thierry is here with many of her democratic colleagues from texas. guest: good morning. thank you for having me. host: tell me why you and your
fellow democrats left texas and came to washington. what was your purpose? guest: we are here to protect the voting rights of millions of texans, elderly texans, disabled texans, lower income presidents, -- residents, because the legislature seeks to turn the clock back on voting rights. host: the legislation being considered in texas is happening in an emergency session in the capital called by the governor, greg abbott. is it your sense that you and your colleagues can write it out -- ride it out in the capital and the legislature will not have a quorum to take up that bill and others? guest: for those who are
listening, we were not successful. we did what we called " reverse quorum," which means there were not enough senator -- representatives present. it is a valid procedural remedy. we had to pull out every tool in the toolkit. this legislation was too dangerous. we tried to work across the aisle, but we were not successful. a republican colleagues were unwilling to bend and yield on some of the most restrictive voting rights we have seen in decades. now, the governor has called a special session. he called it without making changes to the bill we were hoping to see. once again, we are here lobbying congressional leaders, seeking federal relief to stepan and to
stop -- step in and stop what is happening in texas. we know we are running out of time, but we are optimistic. host: here is what that proposed texas legislation would do. the proposed bill would require a new id requirements for people voting by mail. it would prohibit local election officials from sending unsolicited vote by mail applications. it would prohibit drive-thru voting and extended hours during early voting. it would prohibit poll watchers from being removed for violating election law. it would expand what partisan poll watchers can observe during elections. it would create new requirements for those who assist voters at the polls or people planning to vote by mail.
and new criminal penalties for election workers who " intentionally or knowingly refuses to accept a poll watcher." guest: there are two things that are just facts -- we had large turnouts during the last election, particularly in harris where i represent. there was march democratic turnout. -- large democratic turn. -- large democratic turnout. love the provisions you enumerated -- the second thing that we believe, the strongest impetus for this horrible legislation is what we have been calling " the big lie," when
trump kicked and screamed and said he won the presidential election and that there was better fraud even though state after state continued to say that there was no fraud and that he did not win the election until shortly after that we started to see house bills around the country start to appear. instead of maintaining equitable access to the ballot, we started to see all these strange provisions seeking to penalize people for trying to vote. host: what is your stance on voter id? guest: we already have voter id in texas. we think that is a red herring. i have seen that on twitter. many people have gone on my page and said, " why aren't you for voter id?" those are not the provisions
that caused us to break quorum. you mentioned something -- i would like to put it in context. you mentioned that mobile voting -- what that looks like is someone who has a disability or is not well enough, healthy enough to be able to stand in line for sometimes 6, 7 , 8 hours in some counties. these bills restrict a county's ability to voting locations. that person is going to be deterred from voting, where before they could vote mobilely. we talked about the elderly and
having someone help them go to the polls. now there is a deterrent to that. if someone perhaps a neighbor or granddaughter or friend decides to take an elderly lady to go vote, to help her, the bills can criminalize that person for doing that. it is so vague and broad, it does not even specify what the intent could be. people will be deterred from trying to help. you cannot receive any source of benefit in helping that person. even if that person took you to lunch, that would be a crime. host: under current texas law, does the state allowed drop boxes for voting and does this bill change that? guest: we do have drop boxes.
i am unclear because there have been so many changes. i have not seen the latest part of that, but i do know if we do not get preclearance, which is what we are here for, we are arguing to congress that we need a national bell that would make preclearance -- bill that would make preclearance the norm, drop boxes could be changed anytime. that is what we are trying to do. we are trying to stop this overreach by state into counties because they know what works for them. they know what is best for their voters. in my county, we had 24 hour voting and it was very successful. it was during the middle of the pandemic, and it was necessary. think about those who have shiftwork. they should not be penalized in
order to exercise their constitutional right to vote. host: why do republicans want to change that? is there some implication that something nefarious is happening with voting? guest: it is interesting. let's be clear -- they have never been able to articulate why. what is the harm? no harm, no foul. we know there was a large increase in turnout in the african-american community, in the latino community. those people who as i stated are on the lower economic scale because they are hard-working texans doing shiftwork, hourly wage earners. they were able to go and vote without losing their pay, and ironically, that is why rep -- republicans are proposing to take that away. host: shawn thierry from texas.
we welcome your calls and comments about the texas legislation and the efforts by representatives thierry and her colleagues to work with congress on this. (202) 748-8000 is the line to call for democrats. (202) 748-8001 for republicans. (202) 748-8002 for independents. the delegation is still in washington. you are remaining here through the end of the session, correct? you had a number of folks diagnosed with covid. tell us the latest situation on that. guest: first of all, we are committed -- i will start with myself. i am committed to honoring my constituents, which is tuesday until the end of this legislative session.
that would be august 7. it could not be more fitting. august to six is the anniversary of the 1965 -- august 6 is the anniversary of the 1965 voting rights legislation. that would be the greatest -- it is also my birthday. that would be the greatest birthday present at all. it was difficult for many of us to leave our families, but i am calling my colleagues to stay the course. we intend tuesday. the second part -- we intend to stay. we have had some infections in our group. what we believe that comes from is the breakthroughs can -- breakthrough cases. the good news is, every member
of our caucus, was fully vaccinated despite the fact that the governor has not been pushing next scene with a message we feel is appropriate. we do not even have 70 for -- 70% of fully vaccinated texans. host: we want to make sure texas residents know we have a special number set aside for you. that is (202) 748-8003. let's hear from paul in minnesota. on the independent line. mute the volume then go ahead with your comment. caller: ok. host: there you go. caller: how is that?
host: it is still feeding back in the background. i am going to go to james and wilson, north carolina. james, you are on with representatives thierry. caller: good morning senator. i will stay -- with regards to the virus, i went to vietnam, 80 years old, black man, i got hurt over there, i got wounded over there. i went to fort jackson, south carolina, retrained, came back -- went to vietnam. you stay in d.c. as long as you can. thank you for what you are doing. god bless you. guest: thank you for your service to our country. thank you for your encouragement. this is a difficult journey, i
am doing this for exactly what you said, so all of us will have equal access to the ballot and to the polls. most people do not know that this is not just political. this is personal too. my grandmother told me how she had to pay for poll access. she was intimidated at the polls . she could not stand next to white people waiting to vote. she was followed around at the polls. any old body can ba poll watchers -- be a poll watcher, follow you around. in texas we made it legal for anyone to carry a gun without a
license and without training, empowering so-called poll watchers, who we already know in african-americans have a history of harassing us when we try to vote. host: let's go to sal in staten island, new york, republican line. caller: let's be honest and real about this ok? 2020 worked out so good for the democrats they want to vest around the country every election season -- spread this around the country every -- my father passed away. he got 2 voter forms. what they want is they want to wait to election night to figure out how many boat to win --
votes you need to win. in new york, five weeks later -- this is what they want. they want to be able to go into nursing homes, get people who are not very well and just put names there. host: we will hear from representative thierry. guest: thank you for your call. my condolences for your parents passing away. we do not have any evidence of making up names of people voting that do not exist. there are 29 million people in texas, and i think there are maybe a few hundred allegations of voter fraud. that is not even 0.5%.
certainly people in nursing homes need to be able to vote. they are the people we are doing this for. there is no fraud there. there is nothing texas house democrats have said about that. as you stated we were successful in our election. i would say quite the opposite respectfully. it seems to be our republican colleagues who want a do over after they have lost. host: san antonio is up. we hear from kevin, a republican there. caller: good morning. i wanted to thank the representative and the rest of the democrats for pointing out this situation, as someone who was born in 1965, this is not neil what is happening here. -- not new what is happening here. it is minorities and black people voting.
if people know the history, this has been done before. i want to thank the down the -- representative and the democrats for doing what they are doing. guest: thank you for your call. i come from a family of activists, of civil rights activists i should say. my mom also grew up in texas and marched with the honorable barbara jordan. the first african-american teacher to integrate a high school, she went to work with police protection. she had milkshakes poured on her head and thrown in her face when she sat in at the lunch counters in texas. with all of this jim crow, as we call it, coming back now, my mother and i can go to the lunch counter, but the same spirit
behind african-americans rights in this country are tied together with this. i would be the third generation of black women in my family still fighting for this. i did not expect this to happen in my lifetime, but i have to do this now for everyone, and so that my daughter will not be the third generation of african-american women fighting for access to the ballot. host: a question for you from jason in honolulu. " democrats seem to think current voting laws are perfect. why does your party not want any voting reforms?" guest: high, jason. thank you for calling -- hi, j ason. thank you for calling. i cannot say, jason, that we do
not. we are open to reform, but we do not understand the need for a solution in which no problem lies. there has been no evidence of any fraud. the provision that our republican colleagues have put forth tend to be trying to fix something that does not exist. that is our problem, jason. why would we be limiting access to americans? host: let's hear from our texas line again. this is linda. caller: good morning. how are you? i am so glad to see you all there. i am a texan from 40 years ago, and i agree with them. even this year, the heritage foundation went on tv. i saw them going to georgia and texas to change the boats -- vo
ting system in their favor. texas has changed. texas is no longer like it was, independent. i agree with her that they are trying to limit voting for hispanics and minorities. greg abbott wants to be president or vice president so he is on the side of trump all the way. there is no problem with voting in texas. they just want to make it harder. guest: ink you for your advocacy and your inc. -- thank you for your advocacy and your encouragement. i am trying to speak with our congressional leaders and ask them to please pass legislation as soon as possible to preempt what is barreling down our face in texas. host: when you here's -- hear
people say " we want to make it easier to vote, harder to cheat" what do you say? guest: how does that make it easier to vote? there is nothing in it that makes it easier to vote at all, and there is nothing that even addresses cheating at all. it is a talking point, but it does not make it easier to vote if you are going to deter an elderly person from being able to receive a mail ballot knowing that many elderly people, that is the primary way they vote. when you criminalize that and make state jail felony is on innocuous -- felonies on
innocuous actions with no sign of criminal intent, people will stay away. otherwise why is it in their? there is nothing it -- in there? you're definitely not making it easier on the disabled community. host: let's go to john in san antonio, republican caller. caller: i just love how any time the democrats don't like the election legislation being presented they call it suppression bills. this is not suppression. making it harder, making it easier to vote. that is a he said, she said kind of deal. this is insane. it is easy to vote in texas. we probably have the best early voting process of anybody anywhere. i have never had any problem voting in texas.
i love that we require id and our voter registration card. i am not for mailing out ballots. i'm not for ballot drop boxes. that is where cheating will happen. host: we will hear from representative thierry. guest: i would love to have him defined what is ballot harvesting. if it is easy to vote in texas, why do we have this legislation? he says he likes early voting. why did this bill attempt to restrict the hours for early voting? the fact that his county may have provisions, why would he want the state to come in and to supersede that and allow them to tell every county what to do, so they can change the hours that work for their county, knowing
how big texas is, knowing that we have counties where there is a very large population and we have to extend hours to simply allow people to get through the line to vote. when you cut hours off, there are hundreds of people still standing in line. i would say to him, we agree, we should keep it easy, and nothing in this bill does that. why would he support a bill that limits hours for voting? host: lakeview, arkansas, independent line. caller: good morning. thank you, c-span. as a texas state legislator, and to the legislation is the body that makes the election laws per the constitution, as a state legislator who left the state
basically using a filibuster and going to washington so you can make hr one the law of the land and fight the republicans who are using the filibuster to block hr one, you keep asking " why do we need to change?" the democrats spent two years corrupting the voting laws in states like pennsylvania by having judges and election officials change the rules before the election. when you mail out an extra 50 million mail-in ballots, where do all those ballots go? you want to say there is no proof of fraud. what i have proof of is unconstitutional election. swing states ran an unconstitutional election.
this is an disputable. -- on disputable. you-- this is undisputable. you asked why. because the state exercises power to determine how elections will be run. that is the states' responsibility, not the federal government's responsibility. host: if this bill does not pass, what happens next? guest: sure. we are hoping, as you said there will be a need for speed, that congress will feel the need for speed to pass hr1 so we will have uniform election integrity in every state. if that does not happen, then gregory -- governor abbott has
said he will call us back for another session. we are aware that we will have to go back and fight. we do not have the numbers. we are realistic about that. our hope is that there will be something passed that would preempt this type of legislation. we never said that we were on the lam for the rest of our lives. we have families, we have businesses. we intend to get back to texas, but we are exercising our constitutional right, and most of us will tell you that it is our duty to represent our districts. one thing about the texas house is that we always tell each other " vote your district." we are here, representing our districts, are constituents are
the ones who would be disenfranchised by these bills. when i took my oath to represent them, i have to do all that i can. if we were to allow this to go forward, then we are overturning -- turning democracy on its head. we have no choice but to petition congress to act. host: this is mary in jacksonville. caller: i live in the 11th legislative district where the travis clover early is foursquare for the suppression of voters. there are many in our area who are so proud for -- of our democrats. they bring me to tears every time i see them on tv. we will keep fighting. i want people to realize even if we somehow get beyond this voter repression legislation, we still have gerrymandering to deal with.
that is one of the reasons why it is important for the act of the people to be passed so we can do something about this terrible gerrymandering. thank you to the press and media of washington dc to giving our texas democrats so much opportunity to express the feelings many of us have down here and is incredibly valuable for the whole nation. please, president biden and congress, stand up for voting rights. we are desperate. caller: thank you -- guest: thank you for your support. host: representative shawn thierry of the 146th district in texas. thank you for being with us on washington journal. guest:
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