Texas Legislature Sends Voting-Restriction Bill to Governor

A bill that would rein in measures to ease voting passed the Texas legislature Tuesday, following more than two months of delay that included an exodus from the state by a majority of the House’s Democratic members.

The measure, first introduced during the legislature’s regular biennial session that ended in May and then the subject of two special sessions, will eliminate some of the changes deployed during the pandemic. It would stop drive-thru voting, while further limiting mail-in voting and giving more power to partisan poll watchers, among other things. It now heads to Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who said he will sign it into law.

“Protecting the integrity of our elections is critical in the state of Texas,” Abbott said in a statement Tuesday. “I look forward to signing Senate Bill 1 into law.”

Texas joins other Republican-led states in restricting voting. Democrats, in the minority in both chambers of the legislature, twice attempted to stymie a vote on the bill by walking out and denying the quorum for a floor vote. 

The first walkout came late in the last day of the regular session, forcing Abbott to call the 30-day special session that started in July. House Democrats then left the state for Washington, where they remained through the start of a second special session. The move was ultimately futile; lawmakers returned this month. 

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