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'I'm bewildered' | County Judge Lina Hidalgo accuses Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of attacking his own constituents

KHOU-TV Houston logo KHOU-TV Houston 5 days ago Michelle Homer, Adam Bennett
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County Judge Lina Hidalgo pushed back against Lt. Governor Dan Patrick Wednesday in response to his recent remarks about Harris County.

“I’m bewildered and frankly saddened that someone would attack their own constituents.”

When defending Senate Bill 7 Tuesday, Patrick said, “I have news for Harris County: you’re not the capital of Texas.”

The controversial bill would outlaw many of the changes Harris County  enacted in 2020 to give voters more access and options.

RELATED: 'You’re not the capital of Texas' | Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick takes shot at Harris Co. leaders, defends Texas voting bill

“I’m proud to make it easier for everyone to vote,” Hidalgo said. “Republicans and Democrats voted in record numbers, Republicans and Democrats thanked our team for making it easier to vote.”

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Hidalgo accused Patrick and other supporters of SB7 of voter suppression disguised as an effort to end voter fraud that doesn’t exist.

“Statistically speaking, you are more likely to be struck by lightning in the state of Texas than you are to encounter voter fraud,” Beto O’Rourke, former Democratic congressman from El Paso, said Tuesday.

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“Let’s keep calling it what it is: Jim Crow 2.0,” Hidalgo said.

Republicans argue SB7 would improve the integrity of elections

Senate Bill 7

The bill now being debated in the Texas House would limit voting hours to between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Ban drive-thru voting

Stop election officials from sending email ballots to qualified voters who haven’t applied

Give poll watchers more power to record voters 

Requires a paper backup for every ballot

A similar House bill 6 is also up for debate.

Back and forth

Some major companies have spoken out against the bills, including  American Airlines and Dell.

“Free, fair, equitable access to voting is the foundation of American democracy. Those rights — especially for women, communities of color — have been hard-earned,” Dell said in a statement. “Governments should ensure citizens have their voices heard.

Governor Greg Abbott responded Tuesday, telling companies they should “stay out of politics.”

Voter backlash?

KHOU 11 political analyst Bob Stein believes the corporations criticizing changes to voting bills across the U.S. recognize the country’s demographics are changing.

“As a result, Georgia’s the best example, these changes in laws are not likely to mute the voter turnout,” Stein said. “If anything, it’ll be a draw, no effect. It may be more likely that it creates a backlash.”

The Texas House could take up SB 7 as soon as Thursday.

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