If we were to make a ranking of controversial bills this Legislative Session, SB7 and HB6 would definitely be at the top. Both bills were designed to make voting harder in Texas, and they were part of a nationally coordinated effort made by the republican party to “make elections more secure”.
Following the unfunded allegations of former President Donal Trump that the 2020 election was a fraud, some members of the Republican party vowed to pass bills in their respective states that would ensure “cleaner elections” in the future.
Enter State Rep. Brisco Cain, a 36-year-old Republican who was named one of the “worst legislators” by the Texas Monthly in the 2017 legislative session, he was also described as “uniformed and belligerent.”
He gained national attention back in 2019 when he was temporarily banned from Twitter for threatening former Democratic presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke.
Cain was chosen to lead the House Election Committee earlier this year, meaning he would be in charge of dealing with the critical responsibility of helping pass the Republicans’ voting bill.
Unsurprisingly, the lawmaker’s inexperience and ignorance of US history showed in the language of his bill.
Democratic Rep. Rafael Anchia severely questioned Cain about a phrase in the bill calling for the “purity of the ballot box,” Anchia asked him if he knew that it evoked the discriminatory voting restrictions of Texas’ Jim Crow past.
“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?” Rep. Anchia asked, and then added “That provision was drafted specifically to disenfranchise black people, black voters, following the Civil War.”
Rep. Cain was forced to admit he wasn’t aware of that and said he simply used that language because he read in the Texas constitution.
A clip of the exchange went viral on social media, exposing the young lawmaker for his ignorance in the matter of his state’s history of discrimination against Black voters.
The “purity of the ballot box” reference was eventually removed from the bill, but the record of Cain’s disappointing ignorance remains.
The voting restriction bill was passed with a 5 to 4 vote and several amendments by the Texas Senate.