- Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives boycotted a legislative session late Sunday, blocking a vote on an election reform bill
- Critics had said the bill would make it harder for blacks and Hispanics to vote
- But Republicans said the measures were ‘comprehensive and sensible’
- With just over an hour before a midnight deadline to pass the measure, Democrats had walked out to deny the House a quorum for a vote
- A vote on the measure was certain to pass in the Republican-dominated house
- Supporters of the legislation said it is needed to bolster election security
- Democrats and civil rights groups argue that such legislation disproportionately burdens or discourages voters of color, as well as the elderly and disabled
- There were no substantial allegations of fraud in Texas in last year’s election
A voting bill in Texas that was on the verge of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk failed to pass Sunday night after Democrats walked out of the House chamber before a midnight deadline.
The bill known as Senate Bill 7 would have imposed a raft of changes that Republicans in the state see as a sensible approach to securing election integrity.
It would eliminate drive-thru voting, empower partisan poll watchers and impose new requirements in order to cast a ballot by mail in Texas.
But about two hours before a midnight deadline to pass the bill, Democrats began filing out of the chamber in greater and greater numbers, denying Republicans the quorum necessary to hold a final vote.
Abbott swiftly said he would call a special session to try passing a voting bill again but did not say when.
‘Election Integrity & Bail Reform were emergency items for this legislative session. They STILL must pass. They will be added to the special session agenda. Legislators will be expected to have worked out the details when they arrive at the Capitol for the special session,’ Abbott tweeted late Sunday night.
Top Republican negotiators, Sen. Bryan Hughes and state Rep. Briscoe Cain, have called the bill ‘one of the most comprehensive and sensible election reform bills’ in Texas’ history.
But Democrats have argued that the bill would suppress voters and have a detrimental effect on access – especially for marginalized voters.