Texas State Senate Passes GOP Election Reform Bill

Posted: Jul 13, 2021 10:45 PM
Texas State Senate Passes GOP Election Reform Bill

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Texas state senators passed a GOP-backed voting reform bill Tuesday night after Democrats fled the state in an effort to delay the passage of another bill in the House, which also looked to make changes to current voting laws.  

In a partisan 18-4 vote, all 18 Senate Republicans voted to pass the bill aimed at ensuring election integrity, according to Fox News

The Senate was able to reach a quorum and pass the bill after four Senate Democrats joined Republicans for the vote. 

Eight Democratic senators were absent after they joined House Democrats in departing from the state for Washington, D.C. to block the election reform bills. A ninth senator is expected to join them in the nation's capital.

The Texas Democrats, while in Washington, pushed for Congress to pass the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, two pieces of federal legislation that Democrats say will expand voting access.  

"Rather than continuing to fruitlessly debate Republicans who refuse to legislate in good faith, Texas Senate Democrats decided to take matters into their own hands in order to secure the voting rights of Texans –  especially voters of colors, seniors and those with disabilities — and work with our partners at the federal level to pass voting rights legislation that would rein in discriminatory voter suppression laws and unfair redistricting practices," the Democratic senators said in a joint statement to The Texas Tribune.

Democrats continue to allege that the GOP-sponsored bills are efforts to make voting harder for people, particularly minorities. Texas Republicans, however, said the proposed measures would protect the integrity of elections in the state.

The Texas-Senate’s bill, Senate Bill 1, includes prohibiting drive-thru voting, mandating identification to vote by mail and the requirement of video surveillance.

This bill is currently stalled until the state House has the 100-member quorum needed to vote on the legislation.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) threatened to arrest the lawmakers who fled the state in protest of the election bills and the state House on Tuesday voted 76-4 to apprehend the Democratic legislators.

The White House applauded the efforts by Texas Democrats to flee the state.