The Republican-controlled Texas state House and Senate on Tuesday passed the final versions of the controversial voter integrity legislation, which the Democrats tried to oppose for months.
The House voted to pass the bill 80-41 with only one Republican joining the Democrats, and the Senate passed the legislation hours later with an 18-13 party-line vote. After the bill’s passage — a major victory for the Republicans — the text will now go to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) desk to be signed into law.
Abbott, in trying to pass the bill, had called two different special legislative sessions to pass the voting legislation. In July, 57 of the 66 Democrats in the House fled the state for the nation’s capital to take away the two-thirds present quorum to conduct any type of business.
“Under the House rules, two-thirds of the chamber’s members must be present to meet quorum, the number of lawmakers needed to move legislation,” The Texas Tribune noted.
After the legislation passed the Senate, Abbott said he looks forward to signing the bill into law and explained the importance of the legislation”:
Protecting the integrity of our elections is critical in the state of Texas, which is why I made election integrity an emergency item during the 87th legislative session.
Senate Bill 1 creates uniform statewide voting hours, maintains and expand voting access for registered voters that need assistance, prohibits drive-through voting, and enhances transparency by authorizing poll watchers to observe more aspects of the election process. The bill also bans the distribution of unsolicited applications for mail-in ballots and gives voters with a defective mail-in a ballot the opportunity to correct the defect.
Abbott also thanked the election officials that had a hand in passing the legislation.
The Texas election integrity bill is on its way to my desk!
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) August 31, 2021
Texas now joins 17 other states that have passed some amount of voter integrity laws since the 2020 election, according to the left-wing media outlet the Washington Post.
“Supporters of the Texas bill argued that it was necessary to restore voter confidence in the state’s elections — even though top state officials said there was no evidence of significant fraud that would have altered the results last year,” the Post wrote.
After the bill’s passage, its author, state Sen. Bryan Hughes, a Republican, said, “All of these pieces put together will give us a secure system for everybody. … It’s a big deal.”
“Anyone who tells you there’s no voter fraud in Texas is telling you a very big lie. We know what happens. The right to vote is too precious. It costs too much for us to leave it unprotected,” Hughes added.
Follow Jacob Bliss on Twitter @jacobmbliss.