The Texas Legislature passed a bill on Tuesday that would restrict voting access across the state. Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott is expected to sign the bill soon.
The bill, SB 1, imposes several voting restrictions that would predominantly limit voting access for Black, Latinx, and voters with disabilities. It bans drive-thru voting, 24-hour voting, and the unsolicited distribution of mail ballot applications.
SB 1 also reduces early voting hours, imposes stricter ID requirements for mail voting, and strengthens protections for partisan poll watchers. In addition, the bill limits the amount of assistance available for voters with disabilities who need help completing and casting their ballots.
“I was born in segregation,” said Texas state Rep. Garnet Coleman before the House vote on Tuesday. “We think we’ve made progress, and then all of a sudden there’s a new law that moves us back in time.”
The House passed the bill in an 80-41 vote along party lines. After final approval from the Senate, the bill was sent to Gov. Abbott’s desk to be signed.
“We knew we wouldn’t be able to hold off this day forever,” said Texas House Democratic caucus chair Chris Turner. “Now that is has come, we need the U.S. Senate to act immediately to pass federal legislation to protect Texas voters from Republicans’ assault on our democracy.”
Sources: New York Times 8/31/21; Texas Tribune 8/31/21; CNN 8/31/21