Texas Senate Passes Election Reform Bill

Texas Senate Passes Election Reform Bill

(ConservativeHub.com) – Partisan bickering continues to affect Americans as allegations of voting irregularities and fraud in the 2020 presidential election mount. As of the end of July, 18 states had passed 30 new election laws in hopes of avoiding future problems. Texas lawmakers struggled for weeks to pass a sweeping new election law, finally managing to accomplish that goal on August 31.

The measure passed along party lines (18-13) in the Senate. It passed in the Texas House on August 20 by a vote of 80 to 41. Provisions in the new bill include bans on drive-through voting, the distribution of unsolicited mail-in ballots by election officials, and 24-hour voting. The measure also:

  • Established regular citizenship checks;
  • Created new rules regarding voter assistance;
  • Set new restrictions for early voting;
  • Mandated identification rules for voting by mail; and
  • Improved protections for poll watchers.

Governor Greg Abbott (R) issued a statement praising lawmakers’ efforts to pass the bill. He explained that he called the legislature back into an emergency session earlier this month to pass the measure since “protecting the integrity” of elections is critical to Texans. Continuing, he praised the efforts of his lieutenant governor and other lawmakers and said he looked forward to signing Senate Bill 1 into law.

Democratic Efforts to Block Passage of the Measure

Texas House Democrats tried to block the passage of the new election law for months by breaking quorum, starting in May. For those unfamiliar with the term, quorum sets a minimum number of members that must be present for a bill to advance. The Texas House requires the presence of at least 100 members before it can begin debate or vote on a measure.

House Democrats broke quorum numerous times over the spring and summer. In July, more than 50 of them fled to Washington, DC, to break quorum, and 26 vowed to stay there as long as necessary to defeat the measure. However, Gov. Abbott and Republican leadership pushed back on Democratic-led efforts.

On August 12, Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan deputized Texas law enforcement officers and directed them to execute civil arrest warrants on the missing Democrats to force a vote. The warrants carried no possibility of incarceration or fines. But, the move did grant officers the authority to detain the absent Democrats and bring them to the House Chamber. Additionally, the House could have voted to sanction them and impose fines on them for refusing to perform their official duties.

It remains unclear what day Gov. Abbott plans to sign the bill. We will keep you updated on the signing ceremony as information becomes available.

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