Last week, efforts to strengthen our democracy by making voting rights consistent across the nation were stymied by our United States Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, who voted against the Freedom to Vote Act. The bill would have overridden parts of Texas’ new election laws by establishing automatic voter registration and lifting various state-level measures that hinder access to the ballot box. In addition, the bill would have strengthened the regulatory powers of the Federal Election Commission, tightened restrictions on foreign interference in elections and modified campaign finance regulations. To put it bluntly, Senators Cruz and Cornyn voted to keep it hard for people to vote and to continue allowing foreigners to donate money to political campaigns and groups advertising in support of candidates.

Gov. Greg Abbott and his fellow schemers in the state legislature put on a big show about preventing non-citizens from voting, yet they have nothing to say about preventing foreign money being used to sway voters via political advertising and social media activities. Money provided by rich donors contributing to many Super PACs (Political Action Committees) is often anonymous and known as dark money. Since the funds are anonymous, no one outside the Super PAC can be sure that the money they’re spending to elect a candidate isn’t from Iran, Russia, or China, or any other foreign nation or company. Our senators had an opportunity to shed light in the dark and willfully chose not to.

JC Dufresne is a liberal activist and current member of the State Democratic Executive Committee, representing Senate District 25.

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