Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) crusaded against voting rights during a call last week with Republican state lawmakers, claiming that Democrats are trying to expand voting rights to “illegal aliens” and “child molesters.”
According to a recording of an invitation-only call obtained by the Associated Press, Cruz said that Republicans must do all they can to stop that effort, alleging that if Democrats win a push to move sweeping election legislation through the Senate, the GOP won’t win elections for years to come.
When asked during the call if there was room to compromise, Cruz was obstinate.
“HR1’s only objective is to ensure that Democrats can never again lose another election, that they will win and maintain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate and of the state legislatures for the next century,” Cruz said on the call organized by the American Legislative Exchange Council a conservative group which recommends legislation to lawmakers.
Cruz’s statements reflect an intensifying GOP campaign to politicize voting rights and restrict access to the ballot in an effort to win back the majority during midterms next year.
More than 250 bills across 43 states have been introduced that include measures that would limit mail voting, cut hours that polling places are open and impose other restrictions that have been taken center stage in the wake of Trump’s false claims about a stolen presidential election last year.
The push to restrict access to voting, through tightened voter identification laws and frequent voter roll purges which often exclude Black and Latino voters, comes as the Senate prepares to consider a package of voting changes known as HR1 aimed at blocking voter suppression.
The sweeping legislation would require states to automatically register eligible voters and offer same-day registration. It would also require states to offer 15 days of early voting and allow no-excuse absentee balloting, among other provisions.
During a Fox News interview earlier this month, Cruz called the package “dangerous” and claimed that Democrats would use it to “benefit from voter fraud.”
Cruz later claimed during the call that the legislation — which would also limit states’ ability to purge registered voters from their rolls and would restore the voting rights of former felons — would enable millions of “criminals and illegal aliens” to become voters.
The bill “says America would be better off if more murderers were voting, America would be better off if more rapists and child molesters were voting,” Cruz said.
The Texas Republican said that during a recent strategy call with national conservative leaders to coordinate opposition, leaders had agreed to paint the Democratic-backed bill as the “Corrupt Politicians Act,” he said.