Texas Senate passes election integrity bill despite protests from Democrats
Hannah Nightingale | The Post Millennial
The Texas Senate voted 18-11 in favor of Senate Bill 1 at around 9 am local time.
On Thursday, the Texas Senate voted to approve an election integrity bill after a Democratic senator filibustered for 15 hours in a last-ditch effort to stop the legislation from passing. The Texas Senate voted 18-11 in favor of Senate Bill 1 at around 9 am local time.
The vote came moments after Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Carol Alvarado left the floor for the first time since 5:50 pm on Wednesday after a 15 hour filibuster.
“Filibuster rules prevented her from eating, sitting down, leaning on her desk, taking a bathroom break or speaking on subjects unrelated to the legislation,” according to The Washington Post.
“My friends, voter suppression anywhere is a threat to democracy everywhere,” Alvarado said in conclusion Thursday morning. “As we draw this discussion to an end, it is my sincere hope that civil acts by everyday Texans — from the Senate floor to the ballot box — can help shed the light.”
“What do we want our democracy to look like?” She continued. “Do we want our state to be more or less inclusive? … Instead of making it easier to vote, [this bill] makes it easier to intimidate. Instead of making it harder to cheat, it makes it harder to vote.”
After Alvarado finished, sponsor of the bill Senator Bryan Hughes urged for the passage of the bill, telling the chamber the bill contained “simple, common sense reforms.”
Texas Democrats have worked to try to block the bill from passing in recent weeks, with 52 House Democrats fleeing the state to break quorum, failing to return during the fourth day of the House’s second special session.
Republican Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Dade Phelan signed civil arrest warrants for the 52 on Wednesday, after the Texas Supreme Court rules that the Republicans were within their rights to force their colleagues to return.
Democrats in recent months have equated the bill to “Jim Crow” laws, stating that the bill would effectively block people from voting, especially in communities of color.
The bill has undergone revisions since its previous iterations, with all three versions, one introduced in the legislature’s regular session, a second drafted in the initial special session and now a third in the current session, prohibiting drive-through voting and 24-hour voting.
The newest version of the bill requires any politically appointed poll watchers to get a training manual from the secretary of state.
Also changed in the newest version was an earlier requirement that required people casting early ballots to use the same identification number on their application for early-voting as they would on the ballot they receive. The revised version states that the numbers must only be connected to the same person.