JLUSA leader Maggie Luna speaks out against proposed Texas legislation that would make illegal voting a felony
May 25, 2023
“The Texas Senate on Wednesday got closer to raising the penalty for voting illegally from a misdemeanor to a felony, as well as making it easier to convict a voter without proving they intended to cast an illegal ballot.
“The legislation is a priority for Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other Republican lawmakers who have pushed for it since the 2021 change lowering the penalty to a misdemeanor, despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Texas. …
“Maggie Luna, 42, of Austin, who had been incarcerated on past convictions, voted for the first time in 2020 after she had completed her parole. For years and while behind bars, Luna was told she’d never be able to vote. But after her release, she learned that wasn’t true and that she could, in fact, cast a ballot once her parole was completed. Luna now helps advocate for others who have been incarcerated and helps them to understand their rights through the Texas Center for Justice and Equity.
“After her release, Luna struggled to find a stable job and housing due to her felony conviction. That’s why the thought of this bill becoming law “terrifies” her. And she worries that others who have been incarcerated but have regained their eligibility to vote will be deterred from the polls.
“‘Getting a felony in Texas is for life. You can’t get a job, you can’t apply for housing,’ Luna said. ‘I don’t want to take that chance. People are just not going to take that chance.’”
(Maggie Luna pictured above on the far left. Photo by Enrique Huaiquil / JustLeadershipUSA)