AUSTIN, Texas — At 5:50 p.m. yesterday, Senator Carol Alvarado began her filibuster on the state Senate floor. After 15 hours of unwavering strength, she concluded her testimony against Senate Bill 1 at 8:55 am. This remarkable feat is part of this summer’s trend of Texas Democrats leading the way in the national fight for voting rights.
Senator Alvarado is the first Latina to filibuster the Texas Senate, and overnight her filibuster has earned the title of longest filibuster by a female senator. She is the first to use this parliamentary mechanism in 8 years since Senator Wendy Davis’ famous filibuster in 2013 which lasted 11 hours.
Without food, water, sitting, or leaning, Senator Alvarado spoke for over 15 hours, through the night and into the morning, to defend voting rights and democracy while calling attention to the anti-voter bill SB1. With the support of her Democratic colleagues, she uplifted the voices and testimony of Texans opposed to SB1. Her fellow state Democratic Senators supported the filibuster by asking questions and engaging with Sen. Alvarado about the anti-voter bill. She accepted each request to yield for questions with the condition, “As long as it does not remove me from the floor.”
In her testimony, Senator Alvarado highlighted some of the dangers of passing this legislation into law, “Senate Bill 1 slowly, but surely, chips away at our democracy. It adds, rather than removes, barriers for Texas seniors, persons with disabilities, African Americans, Asian, and Latino voters from the political process. LBJ said the Voting Rights Act stripped away the last major shackle of the fierce ancient bond of slavery. Senate Bill 1 is a regressive step back in the direction of that dark and painful history. ”
Surrounded by her colleagues in her closing remarks, Senator Carol Alvarado said the following:
“Voter suppression anywhere is a threat to democracy everywhere. As we draw this discussion to an end, it is my sincere hope that civil acts by everyday Texans — from the Senate floor to the ballot box — can help to shed light on all important issues. What do we want our democracy to look like? Do we want our state to be more or less inclusive?
“This bill makes it easier to intimidate. After all the rhetoric… This truly comes down to the people who trusted us with their vote, who sent us to Austin to empower their voices — not to silence them.
“As the third-largest county in America, I am so proud of the way my county conducted our election. Harris County proved to the rest of the country that you don’t have to sacrifice election integrity to increase access to the electoral process. You can make it easy to vote in a safe and secure way.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:
“Texas Democrats couldn’t be more proud of Senator Alvarado’s fifteen-hour filibuster. While Texans slept, Senator Alvarado stood tall and stood firm fighting for our voting rights. Thank you, Senator Alvarado, for your inspiring leadership on this issue.
“Once again, our legislators are leading with integrity and bravery to show the world what it means to be a Texas Democrat — and drawing sharp contrast to the catastrophic and detrimental governance of Texas Republicans.
“Today and every day, we continue our call for all federal legislators to match the courage of our Texas Democrats and pass federal voting rights protections. Our vote is our voice. We will never stop fighting for it.”