Charlotte Pence Bond
The Texas legislature passed an election integrity bill on Tuesday after weeks of back-and-forth between members of both parties in the state.
Republican Governor of Texas Greg Abbott promised to sign the bill, as well, seemingly solidifying the GOP victory.
Democrats in the state are continuing to press for the federal government to intervene in state elections in an effort to push back against the efforts of Republicans to secure elections.
“We knew we wouldn’t be able to hold off this day forever,” Representative Chris Turner, chairman of the House Democratic caucus, said in a statement on Tuesday, per The New York Times. “Now that it has come, we need the U.S. Senate to act immediately.”
Republicans, on the other hand, have pressed that the legislation is necessary to ensure that elections are secure and people trust the results.
“It is about ensuring that all Texans trust the outcome of every election in Texas,” Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said in a statement.
“Senate Bill 1 will make it easier to vote and harder to cheat,” Texas House Republican Caucus Chairman Jim Murphy said in a statement last week, noting that the bill will “go a long way in ensuring the integrity of our elections.”
The Texas House passed the legislation earlier this week, and sent it to the Senate for final debate and revisions.
As the Texas Tribune reported on Tuesday:
The legislation establishes new ID requirements for voting by mail, enhances protections for partisan poll watchers and sets new rules, and possible criminal penalties, for those who assist voters.
It also makes it a state jail felony for local election officials to proactively distribute applications for mail-in ballots, even if they are providing them to voters who automatically qualify to vote by mail or groups helping get out the vote.
Texas Democrats famously fled the state earlier this year in an effort to block Republicans from passing specific bills. Governor Greg Abbott called a special session in order for the legislature to resume its business. A few weeks ago, enough Democrats came back to the state house in order to conduct business.
The Texas Tribune reported at the time:
The margin was razor thin on Thursday and it was unclear for hours before gaveling in whether Republicans had gotten enough members in the chamber to begin their work. Ultimately, 99 members voted that they were present with 49 stated absences. (The regular 100-member threshold for a quorum dropped to 99 on Thursday after San Antonio Democrat Leo Pacheco’s resignation went into effect.) The House then adjourned until 4 p.m. on Monday after referring a slew of bills to committee.
As The Daily Wire reported, GOP House Speaker Dade Phelan stated at the time, “It’s time to get back to the business of the people of Texas. I appreciate every one of you. I’m looking forward to working with you over the coming week or two.”
“Some Democrats were angry that some of their colleagues had returned to the chamber. Rep. Michelle Beckley, noting that Democrats Garnet Coleman, Ana Hernandez, and Armando Walle had returned, tweeted, ‘This is how Texas Democrats lose elections,’” The Daily Wire noted.