The Texas state Senate passed a sweeping voting reform bill on Sunday that would create new criminal penalties and tighten nontraditional ballot methods.
The bill, SB-7, cleared the Senate by an 18-13 margin following closed-door overnight deliberations and would prohibit 24-hour voting drive-thru polling places, which were two practices employed by the blue stronghold of Harris County during the 2020 presidential election. The legislation would also make it a crime for local leaders to send mail-in ballot applications to those who did not request them, and the proposal would also require more identification for absentee and mail-in voters.
The House is expected to vote on the measure later in the day. If approved by the House, it will head to Gov. Greg Abbott‘s desk.
The legislation has seen a wave of backlash from liberal leaders, including President Joe Biden, who called the proposal “wrong and un-American.”
“Today, Texas legislators put forth a bill that joins Georgia and Florida in advancing a state law that attacks the sacred right to vote,” the president said in a Saturday statement. “It’s 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,” he added. “In the 21st century, we should be making it easier, not harder, for every eligible voter to vote.”
Lone Star State Republicans, however, argue the move will make elections more secure and will not serve as means to restrict voting access.
“We want elections to be secure and accessible,” GOP state Sen. Bryan Hughes said during debate with Democratic colleagues prior to the vote.
The bill has also garnered attention from lawmakers on Capitol Hill as New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries lashed out against the voting reform and insisted Republicans want to “steal” future elections.
The legislation, if passed, would be similar to successful proposals in both Florida and Georgia, both of which have drawn widespread scorn and praise from those on opposing sides of the aisle.
Source: Washington Examiner : Texas Senate passes GOP voting reform bill