Home » Texas Republicans’ sweeping voting restrictions bill passes state Senate

Texas Republicans’ sweeping voting restrictions bill passes state Senate

Texas’ Republican-led state Senate passed a sweeping voting restrictions bill early Sunday and sent it to the state’s House. The legislation was unveiled Saturday amid efforts by GOP-led states to overhaul election laws in the wake of former President Trump’s electoral loss.

The bill, S.B. 7, includes several controversial provisions that critics say would disproportionately affect poor and minority voters. It also specifically targets voting practices employed this past year in Harris County, which includes Houston, by banning drive-through voting and 24-hour voting. Those practices were used by 140,000 voters in 2020.

S.B. 7 makes it a state jail felony for local officials to attempt to send mail-in ballot applications to voters who did not request them, a practice Harris County employed in 2020. The bill also limits early voting and implements more restrictions on absentee voting, including adding more identification requirements for those who wish to vote-by-mail.

President Biden condemned the bill in a statement, calling it “part of an assault on democracy that we’ve seen far too often this year—and often disproportionately targeting Black and Brown Americans.”

“It’s wrong and un-American. In the 21st century, we should be making it easier, not harder, for every eligible voter to vote,” Mr. Biden said. “I call again on Congress to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. And I continue to call on all Americans, of every party and persuasion, to stand up for our democracy and protect the right to vote and the integrity of our elections.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday that the Senate will vote on the “For the People Act” in the last week of the June work period. But the bill is unlikely to move forward in the Senate, as most legislation requires 60 votes to advance, and Democrats have a 50-seat majority. Republicans oppose S. 1, meaning that a vote to end debate on it is all but certain to fail.

Zaraki Kenpachi