Texas Senate passes GOP-backed election bill weeks after Dem walkout


The Texas legislature passed the final version of a GOP-backed bill that aims to protect elections and promote election integrity, sending the legislation to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk to be signed.

Senate Bill 1 (SB1) was approved by the state House last week in a vote of 80 to 41, with one Republican in opposition. The state Senate followed Tuesday with a party-line vote of 18 to 13.

"Protecting the integrity of our elections is critical in the state of Texas, which is why I made election integrity an emergency item during the 87th Legislative Session," Abbott said in a statement following passage. "I thank Senator Brian Hughes, Representative Andrew Murr, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and Speaker Dade Phelan for stepping up to ensure that this bill made it to the finish line during the second special session."

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According to Gov. Abbott, the legislation makes it "easier to vote and harder to cheat" in the Lone Star State.

"Senate Bill 1 will solidify trust and confidence in the outcome of our elections by making it easier to vote and harder to cheat," Abbott added. "I look forward to signing Senate Bill 1 into law, ensuring election integrity in Texas."

The bill, as noted by Abbott, creates uniform statewide voting hours, maintains and expands voting access for registered voters who need assistance, prohibits drive-through voting, and enhances transparency by authorizing poll watchers to observe more aspects of the election process.

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In addition, SB1 also bans the distribution of unsolicited applications for mail-in ballots and gives voters with a defective mail-in ballot the opportunity to correct the defect.

The passage of SB1 comes after more than 50 Texas Democrats fled the state and flew to Washington, D.C., in July to pressure Congress about voting rights, preventing the state measure from passing.